Northern Ireland news

PSNI and Garda joint operation targets INLA drug trade in north west and Dublin

A range of illegal drugs and electronic devices were seized during the cross border searches.
Seamus McKinney

NINE people have been arrested as part of a major cross-border police operation targeting INLA involvement in the drugs trade.

The PSNI carried out eight searches and arrested eight men and a woman aged between 27 and 42.

Police say the operation, which took place in the last 48 hours, will have a significant impact on the INLA's drug-dealing activities.

Officers from the PSNI's Paramilitary Crime Task Force (PCTF) and the Gardaí carried out searches in Derry and Limavady in Northern Ireland and in Buncrana and Kerrykeel in Donegal as well as Dublin.

The woman was later released while the eight men remain in custody.

The PSNI seized a significant quantity of cannabis, suspected Class A controlled drugs, a quantity of cash in euros and drugs paraphernalia during eight searches in the north.

Head of the PSNI's Criminal Investigation Branch, Detective Chief Superintendent John McVea said the operation targeted the illegal drugs supply although the INLA were involved in all forms of criminality.

“These criminals don't care about the wider impact their drug dealing will have on the wider community and public services.

“They do not care about the harm and devastation they cause; all they want is to make money by whatever means they can. They prey on the most vulnerable in communities, using fear and intimidation, callously exploiting people's vulnerabilities in the most despicable ways possible,” he said.

Garda Superintendent Goretti Sheridan, based in Buncrana, Co Donegal, said the operation had been ongoing since the summer of 2020.

“This is a borderless crime and it is imperative we in An Garda Síochána work closely with our colleagues in the PSNI in order to combat the sale and supply of controlled drugs which are devastating our communities.

“The INLA, like other gangs involved in drug dealing, are making huge profits and benefitting from this illegal activity,” Superintendent Sheridan said.

The Joint Agency Task Force is led by senior officers from the PSNI, Gardaí and other partner agencies.

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