Five in court over Triad and paramilitary-linked £2m Belfast drugs bust
Five people have appeared in court after £2 million worth of cannabis was seized in a series of raids across Belfast.
Chinese nationals Hua Chen (34), Zhong Chen (49), Fu Yau Lee (59), Jia Lin (28) and Mang Wang Chang (46) are charged with a range of offences including conspiracy to supply Class B drugs.
Police believe the drugs haul may be linked to both Triad gangs and paramilitary organisations.
Detectives from the PSNI’s Organised Crime Branch seized 100kg of cannabis with an estimated street value of £2m following a number of searches in Belfast on Thursday.
The four men and one woman were arrested in the south and east Belfast areas on suspicion of offences in relation to the supply of the drugs as well as immigration offences.
The group were then taken to Musgrave Serious Crime suite for questioning and remanded in custody before appearing at Belfast Magistrates’ Court on Saturday morning.
Legal representatives did not apply for bail on behalf of the group, all of whom were of no fixed abode.
District judge Amanda Henderson said: “This clearly going to be a lengthy investigation and this is a significant amount of drugs,” before remanding all five of the defendants in custody until later this month.
Following the raids detective superintendent Bobby Singleton urged people to stop and think before handing over money to drug dealers.
He said: “This is a significant haul and demonstrates our commitment to removing dangerous drugs from our communities.
“We are following several lines of enquiry, one is a potential link to a Triad organised crime gang and another is potential links to paramilitary groups.
“As we approach the festive party season I want people to think about where their money is going before they hand over cash for recreational drugs.
“Many people who spend money on a casual transaction at the weekend think that it isn’t harming anyone else; the reality couldn’t be further from the truth.
“Not only is it illegal to purchase these drugs but it fuels the local drug trade which brings causes irreparable damage and loss to many families and individuals whose lives it destroys.
“When you hand over money for a small amount of drugs at the weekend, this contributes to the violence and intimidation inflicted by merciless crime gangs.
“It can go towards buying a gun used in an attack against someone who has a drug debt; or a get-away car used in a crime.
“We will continue to investigate those who profit from the misery and harm caused by illegal drugs. Drug dealers are parasites who don’t care about their communities. I would appeal to the public to contact police if they have any concerns or information regarding drugs in their area.”
Belfast Telegraph Digital