'New IRA' claims it used tracking devices to intercept cocaine worth £50,000 in north west
THE 'New IRA' has claimed it used cameras and vehicle tracking devices to intercept drugs worth £50,000 in the north west.
The dissident republican group claimed the cocaine was destined for distribution in the Derry area and last night issued threats to kill three people.
The organisation, also known as the 'IRA', has carried out a series of attacks on security forces in recent years, including the use of increasingly sophisticated devices in bomb attacks.
It was responsible for the murder of journalist Lyra McKee in Derry in April when a masked gunman opened fire during rioting in the Creggan estate.
It has also been blamed for paramilitary-style shootings and beatings in the city.
However, this is believed to the first time it has claimed to have used technology to target alleged drug dealers.
In a statement to The Irish News, using a recognised codeword, a spokesman said the drugs were seized at a house in the south Inishowen area after a "cross border investigation".
He claimed those responsible had been preparing them mid-week for distribution through dealers in Derry at the weekend.
“We used cameras and tracking devices. These people are involved in the major supply of cocaine. The main target we believe is being protected by British crown forces,” he said.
The Irish News was asked to attend a location where the alleged drugs were destroyed.
Several plastic bags and a plastic bottle containing white powder as well as a small set of scales were displayed along with a black sports store bag. All of the contents were then doused in petrol and set on fire.
The New IRA spokesman named three people, one from Derry and two from Co Armagh, as allegedly being linked to the drugs and said they would be killed.
He also said others involved in the distribution of drugs in the Derry area had 48 hours to cease their activities and “come forward” to the community, claiming the safety of anyone who did so would be guaranteed.
Paramilitary groups have been widely condemned for carrying out vigilante-style attacks in Derry and elsewhere, with elected representatives saying there is no support for such actions.