Belfast £3m drug bust is one of the largest ever in the North, PSNI say
Drugs with an estimated street value of £3million were discovered in a lorry in Belfast Port in one of the largest drug busts ever recorded in Northern Ireland.
The Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) initially discovered cocaine and cannabis worth £1.8million when the lorry was stopped at the port on February 12.
Follow-up searches recovered a further £1.2 million worth of drugs, which had been hidden under the floor of the trailer.
Detective Inspector Conor Sweeney of the PSNI’s Organized Crime Unit said the “very large seizure” was “one of the largest seizures we’ve had”.
He said he was detected as part of Operation Fusion, which specifically targeted the smuggling of drugs into ports and harbors by organized crime gangs. This has led to the seizure of drugs worth around £20million over the past 14 months.
These large-scale imports, he said, were typically used to supply several organized crime gangs in Northern Ireland, including loyalist and republican paramilitary groups.
“It’s terrifying to think what that money could be used to fund, in terms of buying weapons, used to exert more influence and control over local communities,” he said.
“To be able to make a seizure like this and the others we’ve had in the past, it’s not just about hitting one organized crime gang, it’s about hitting multiple organized crime gangs.
“They came from outside Northern Ireland which was facilitated by organized crime gangs in other countries including England and possibly further overseas.”
A man has already appeared in court for possession of class A and class B drugs with intent to supply in relation to the seizure at the port of Belfast. Additional Reports – AP