Northern Ireland news

Man arrested in Co Down on suspicion of importing Class A drugs

A man has been arrested by the National Crime Agency in Co Down on suspicion of importing Class A drugs

A man has been arrested in Co Down on suspicion of importing Class A drugs through his links to a haulage firm in the north.

Officers from the National Crime Agency, supported by the PSNI, detained the 31-year-old at Brookfield Avenue in Banbridge on Wednesday.

The NCA said officers arrested the man after obtaining evidence from Operation Venetic, which it described as "the UK's law enforcement response to the take down of encrypted communications platform EncroChat last year".

It is suspected the man arrested may have played a role in importing Class A drugs to the UK from mainland Europe "through his position at a haulage firm based in Armagh".

His arrest is linked to a number of others throughout the UK in the last 12 months with those arrested suspected to have played a role in the same organised crime group.

The man was taken to Carlisle police station, where he is being questioned.

NCA Belfast Branch Commander David Cunningham said: “We continue to work with partners to investigate a number of drug importations that can be linked back to hauliers in Northern Ireland.

“We remain committed to pursuing those involved in the trafficking of illicit drugs whose actions fuel violence and exploitation in our communities.

“Investigations into the actions of this suspected OCG continue.”

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