Northern Ireland news

Paramilitary involvement in drugs trade revealed as Operation Torus continues

A cannabis factory discovered by the PSNI in Limavady earlier this year

OVER £2.5 million in drugs has been seized by police in the past month it has been revealed, with paramilitaries still playing a role in the lucrative trade.

The PSNI’s Operation Torus crackdown on drugs began its latest phase at the beginning of September, and so far almost 300 searches have been carried out.

A total of 75 arrests have also taken place in connection with the raids, and PSNI detective Chief Superintendent Andrea McMullan said drugs remain a priority for police due to the “detrimental effects they can cause to individuals and communities”.

In an interview with the Irish News, Ms McMullan said paramilitaries remained involved in drugs – whether directly dealing, or turning a blind eye to dealers in return for payment.

“There are paramilitaries involved in drug dealing at the street level, at the middle level and at the orchestrated level, at the very high level,” she said.

“Whether those paramilitaries are involved for their own means and paying off someone or whether they are intended to raise funds for paramilitarism is less clear.

“If they are involved for their own means I would confidently suggest that they wouldn’t be doing it without the paramilitary group knowing what they are at because that would put you at odds with that group.”

Ms McMullan said “taxation” of dealers occurred in some republican areas, where terror bosses publicly stood against drugs, but allowed dealing to occur if they were paid.

Operation Torus continues until the end of October.

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