11/01/2019

Four Men Charged Over £1m Cannabis Haul

Four men have been charged after the police seized an estimated £1million worth of cannabis on Wednesday 09 January.

The men, aged 38, 29, 29 and 19 face a number of drug-related offences after being held at Musgrave PSNI station yesterday.

Three are believed to be from south-east Asia and the fourth from North Africa.

In a proactive operation, the PSNI's Organised Crime Branch searched two properties in the Shore Road area of north Belfast and the Springfield road in the west of the city.

Two vehicles were also stopped on the M2 heading Northbound, near the Moneynick junction.

Detective Superintendent Bobby Singleton said he believed the haul of 50kg of herbal cannabis was linked to a south-east Asian Triad gang operating in Belfast.

Organised crime gangs make huge amounts of money from this illegal trade," he said.

"Some people do think that buying cannabis is harmless, but that's simply not the case. The reality is that the abuse of cannabis can damage your physical and mental health.

"Others are better placed to comment on that, but it's a fact that cannabis remains the most used drug by persons in Northern Ireland in treatment for drug addiction."
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Mr Singleton added that the money spent on cannabis encouraged the growth of criminal gangs engaged in violence and intimidation, as well as other crimes like human trafficking.

Sinn Fein MP Paul Maskey has welcomed the drug seizure.

"News that almost £1 million of illegal drugs were seized by the PSNI in a number of searches across Belfast is to be welcomed," the west Belfast MP said.

"Drugs cause misery in our communities and have blighted many lives. The fact that these drugs will not find their way into the illegal supply chain is good news. 

"I would encourage anyone with information on the supply of illegal drugs to bring it forward to the PSNI."

In addition, SDLP councillor Paul Musker cautiously welcomed the news but expressed concern at such a substantial amount of drugs.

He commented: "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."

The PSNI pledged to continue to investigate those who profit from the "misery and harm" inflicted by the supply and use of illegal drugs, and appealed to anyone with information on the use of illicit substances in their area to contact them on non-emergency line 101.



(JG/CM)

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