DETECTIVES have hit an organised crime gang in the pocket after it seized a massive cannabis haul.
Officers from the PSNI’s Organised Crime Branch swooped on Wednesday night during an intelligence led operation in Co Antrim against organised crime figures.
And the senior detective who led the drug bust has told gang bosses: We will take your drugs. We will take your money. We will take your liberty
A 49-year-old man from the Greater Belfast area was arrested after £1 million worth of cannabis was discovered in a vehicle in Lisburn.
Police recovered the drugs after they stopped the vehicle close to the Hillsborough roundabout shortly before 7pm.
The arrested man is being held under the Misuse of Drugs Act on suspicion of possession of the drugs with intent to supply and possession of the drugs.
Police say investigations are ongoing.
Detective Chief Superintendent Roy McComb,, who is head of the PSNI’s Organised Crime Branch, said the seizure was a “major blow” to an organised criminal gang.
“This is evidence of an organised crime gang that has been operating throughout the island of Ireland, based in Northern Ireland and involved in distribution of drugs through communities that are the length and breadth of Ireland,” said DCS McComb.
“Where last night’s shipment was going to will be part of the investigation, but I can tell you now it’s not going anywhere apart from into our safe keeping.
“We know that this gang is involved in distribution of drugs not only in Northern Ireland, but through the island of Ireland.”
He said “significant” seizure reinforces the PSNI commitment to reducing the effects that drugs have on communities in NI.
“We are appealing for anyone with any information concerning this or any other incident regarding the supply or distribution of controlled drugs to contact their local police,” added DCS McComb.
Meanwhile, three people have been arrested after cannabis was found when police raided a house in west Belfast.
Two men aged 24 and 31, and a 32-year-old woman were detained on Thursday morning on suspicion of a number of offences, including cultivation of cannabis and possession with intent to supply a controlled substance.
The trio are in police custody helping with inquiries.
It is the third major seizure of drugs in recent weeks.
A fortnight ago Organised Crime Branch detectives stopped a car in Banbridge and recovered £175,000 worth of cocaine.
A Lithuanian man, with an address in Lisburn, was later charged for having the drugs with intent to supply.
However, he was later granted High Court bail and ordered to surrender his passports.
The court heard the car had been driven from Dublin to Northern Ireland before it was stopped in Co Down during another intelligence-led operation.