Portadown drugs haul worth almost £750,000
Police say drugs seized in the Portadown area on Wednesday have an estimated street value of almost £750,000.
Detectives from Reactive and Organised Crime Branch seized 4.5 kilos of cocaine along with 10 kilos of benzocaine which can be used as a mixing agent to increase the amount of cocaine available for sale. Police have issued a photo of some of the items, including cocaine, seized in the operation.
Two vehicles and five properties were searched in Portadown and Craigavon.
Four people were arrested. Two men aged in their 30s remain in custody. A 26-year-old woman was released pending a report to the PPS, while a 34-year-old man was released on bail pending further enquiries.
SDLP Upper Bann MLA and member of the Policing Board Dolores Kelly has commended the PSNI following the seizure.
Ms Kelly said: "Without a doubt were it not for the diligent and thorough work of the PSNI that these drugs would soon be in circulation across the North.
"The seizure of such a large quantity of Class A drugs is part of a worrying trend that there has been an increase of hard drug use in the Northern Ireland. The number of drug seizures this year has almost doubled since 2005 and the amount of cocaine powder recovered by police is almost three times the amount confiscated last year.
"Increases in drug use can be directly linked to an increases in criminality. We must hope that these figures are an indication that the police are getting better at combating drug dealers rather than an increase in drug trafficking on our streets."
The officer leading the investigation, Detective Inspector Alan Pyper said: “We believe we have taken a substantial quantity of cocaine out of circulation and removed a significant amount of drugs manufacturing equipment including a cocaine press and blenders.
“Our enquiries are continuing, as does our commitment to taking drugs off the streets and putting those involved in this activity before the courts. I would encourage anyone with information about illegal drugs activity to contact police. We will act on your information.”