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Man charged after searches in connection with UVF's drug supply network

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The cutting agent found by police.

The cutting agent found by police.

A drugs press found by police.

A drugs press found by police.

The cutting agent found by police.

A 48-year-old man has been charged with drug offences after searches in connection with the UVF's drug supply network..

The man has been charged with being concerned in the supply of a class A controlled drug and encouraging or assisting offences.

He is due to appear before Belfast Magistrates Court on May 5.

The man was arrested in east Belfast on Tuesday evening after officers from the Paramilitary Crime Task Force (PCTF) searched properties in the area and Carrickfergus.

A man was also arrested during the search in Carrickfergus for assaulting a police officer and has been reported to the Public Prosecution Service.

Head of the PCTF Detective Chief Inspector Cummings said the search operation targeted East Belfast UVF’s drug supply network.

"During the searches a quantity of suspected Benzocaine was seized. This product is used by criminals as a ‘cutting agent’ for drugs such as cocaine. They use substances such as Benzocaine to increase the volume of drugs for sale, thereby increasing their criminal profits," he said.

“In addition, a hydraulic press which I believe is for using to compact cocaine into blocks was also seized, along with electronic scales and other drugs paraphernalia.”

“The arrest and seizure is a further demonstration that the PCTF continues to investigate all types of organised criminality linked to paramilitaries, in an ongoing effort to rid our communities of the harm these groups cause and of their coercive control.”

Belfast Telegraph