PSNI £1m drugs bust linked to Chinese triads - four arrested
Four men have been arrested after the PSNI seized 50kg of herbal cannabis worth just under £1m following searches in Belfast on Wednesday.
The men, aged 38, 29, 29 and 19 were arrested on suspicion of a number of drug related offences and are currently undergoing questioning at Musgrave Serious Crime Suite.
On Wednesday detectives from the PSNI's Organised Crime Unit and colleagues searched two properties in the Shore Road area of north Belfast and the Springfield Road area of west Belfast as part of an investigation into the supply of illegal drugs.
Two vehicles were also stopped on the M2 heading North Bound, near the Moneynick junction.
Two men were arrested in the property on the Shore Road area on suspicion of the importation and supply of these drugs.
A further two men were arrested in a vehicle on the M2 on suspicion of supply of these drugs and a number of immigration offences.
Detective Superintendent Bobby Singleton said that the investigation was linked to a South East Asian organised crime gang operating in Northern Ireland.
"We believe this organised crime gang is Triad linked," he said.
“Whilst there will continue to be debate within society on the legalisation of cannabis it remains a controlled drug and is illegal to possess. Organised crime gangs like this group make huge amounts of money from its illegal trade. Some people think that buying and using cannabis is harmless that’s simply not the case.
"Use of cannabis itself can damage your physical and mental health. Cannabis remains the most used drug by persons in treatment in Northern Ireland for drug addiction.
"The money people spend on it promotes and encourages the growth of these gangs who not only use violence and intimidation to maintain their control in our communities but are also involved in other organised crime like human trafficiking."
Detective Superintendent Singleton appealed for anyone with information to come forward.
“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 and profit from the misery and harm caused by illegal drugs," he said.
"I would appeal to the public to contact police if they have any concerns or information regarding drugs in their area by calling 101."
SDLP councillor Paul McCusker said that the news a substantial amount of drugs was set to be dstirubted among communities in Belfast was "extremely worrying".
“The plight of drug use and distribution in our community is on the rise; its effects destroying lives and families, with addiction services struggling to cope with the sheer number of those requesting help," he said.
“I would encourage anyone with additional information to contact the PSNI.”
Belfast Telegraph Digital