17/10/2019

Pair Arrested Amid INLA Probe

Two men, aged 57 and 19, have been arrested by detectives probing INLA criminal activity in the North West.

The operation on Wednesday was linked to an incident in the Divis area of Belfast on 20 May, when shots were fired into the air in a heavily populated area.

Police said the 57-year-old was arrested under the Terrorism Act in the Galliagh area of L'Derry, while the 19-year-old was detained under the Terrorism Act and the Misuse of Drugs Act in Strabane.

Both were taken to Musgrave Serious Crime Suite, where the older suspect remains in custody. The 19-year-old was later released pending a report to the PPS for the offences of collecting information likely to be used for terrorism and being concerned in the supply of Class A and Class B controlled drugs.

Three searches were carried out on Wednesday, with a number of items seized for further examination including a large quantity of documentation, mobile phones and electronic devices.

The PSNI's Paramilitary Crime Task Force continues to target the INLA due to the level of threat, risk and harm they pose to local communities and the breadth and depth of their criminality.
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Detective Inspector Tom McClure said: "INLA in the North West are involved in violence, extortion and the supply of controlled drugs, illicit cigarettes and counterfeit goods and this strand of the investigation looks to take action against those directing this criminality and money laundering.

"The INLA in Derry/Londonderry and Strabane claim to be protecting their communities by shooting people who they accuse of being involved in crime but the reality is that they use violence and intimidation to control and exploit their communities. Their real motivation for using extreme brutality is to try and ensure that no one speaks out or encroaches on what they see as 'their patch', where they try to run organised criminal rackets solely for their own financial gain. Sometimes they even shoot people who they feel do not show them 'respect' or who they simply do not like."

The PSNI offered assurances that all reports of crime and anti-social behaviour will be investigated lawfully, fairly and proportionately, and where there is evidence it will be brought before the courts.

Inspector McClure added: "I would appeal for anyone with information regarding criminality by paramilitary organisations to contact police on 101. Alternatively, information can also be provided to the independent charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111 which is 100% anonymous and gives people the power to speak up and stop crime."



(JG/MH)

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