23/06/2009

Assets Recovery Praised

Some £30m of illegal drugs and other assets were seized from organised criminals in NI last year by law enforcement agencies.

This is according to the Organised Crime Task Force's (OCTF) annual report which is published on Tuesday.

Speaking before the launch of the report and associated threat assessment, NIO Security Minister and Chairman of the OCTF Paul Goggins, (pictured) gave details of the successes of the taskforce over the past year.

These included the seizure of £7.3 million of assets and around £23 million of illegal drugs.

Seizures also included over £2 million of counterfeit goods and almost one million litres of illicit fuel.

In addition, 11 victims of human trafficking were rescued and a support package for victims of human trafficking was put in place.
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The Minister congratulated the OCTF and its partner agencies for their dedication and professionalism which are making serious inroads into the fight against organised crime in Northern Ireland.

"By taking millions of pounds from organised criminals the OCTF hits them where it hurts most, in their pockets.

"We are sending out a clear message that criminals will be pursued through the courts and their assets will be stripped from them," he said.

"These criminals offer nothing to the wider community. They don't contribute to the social or economic fabric of the 'new' Northern Ireland and the Organised Crime Task Force remains determined to confront their every action," the Minister concluded.

Meanwhile, the work continues with news that cocaine with an estimated street value of £100,000 has been seized in Coleraine.

The drugs were found hidden in a hedge in the Greenhall Highway area of the town on Monday.

A quantity of amphetamines valued at £10,000 were also discovered. While there were no arrests, the police said their inquiries were continuing.

(BMcC/JM)

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