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Drugs worth more than £3m seized as part of street dealing crackdown

Published 28/11/2016

Detective Chief Superintendent Andrea McMullan, who leads the fight against drugs and organised crime
Detective Chief Superintendent Andrea McMullan, who leads the fight against drugs and organised crime

Drugs worth more than £3 million have been seized as part of a police crackdown on street level dealing.

Some 373 people were arrested, 279 of whom were either charged or reported to prosecutors, the Police Service of Northern Ireland said.

There were also 674 searches and 586 drugs seizures during the PSNI's eight-week Operation Torus initiative.

Detective Chief Superintendent Andrea McMullan, PSNI's reactive and organised crime branch, said the blitz had been a success.

"In the eight weeks of the operation we have removed over £3.3 million worth of drugs from our streets.

"This is further evidence that we are committed to tackling those involved in the illegal drug trade, both at street dealing level, and also organised crime gangs."

Operation Torus, which runs twice a year, aims to disrupt the activities of a number of organised crime gangs believed to be peddling highly addictive and potentially lethal substances such as heroin and cocaine throughout Belfast and beyond.

The latest phase of the operation was conducted from September 5 to October 31.

Cannabis was by far the most commonly seized drug, followed by cocaine, police confirmed.

DCS McMullan pledged police would continue to tackle the illegal drugs trade but appealed for community help.

"We will continue to arrest drug dealers involved in the sale and supply of drugs, disrupt the crime groups involved, bring individuals before the courts and work with communities and partner agencies to reduce the threat of harmful and illegal activity.

"Street-level drug dealing is happening across all districts throughout Northern Ireland, causing hurt and harm to communities.

"We as police will do everything that we can to tackle this issue, but we need to work in partnership with our local communities, and I encourage people to share any information, no matter how small, with us," she added.

Last week MLAs on Stormont's justice committee were told there were more than 100 organised crime gangs involved in a range of illegal activities including drug dealing.

The 138 groups include home-grown loyalist and republican paramilitaries as well as criminals from abroad.

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