DETECTIVES from the PSNI’s Criminal Investigation Branch have released a woman who was arrested after police smashed a drug smuggling racket into a top security jail.

The 26-year-old woman has been released pending further inquiries.

She was one of three people arrested yesterday following a covert inquiry planned along with the NI Prison Service following a lengthy surveillance operation inside and outside the jail.

Detectives swooped and arrested three people and seized a quantity of drugs and associated paraphernalia as part of an investigation into trafficking of prohibited items into Maghaberry Prison. 

A 23 year-old prison officer was arrested yesterday morning at Maghaberry Prison at 10:20bam on suspicion of conveyancing prohibited articles into a prison, misconduct in public office, possession of criminal property and being concerned in the supply of Class A and B drugs, as well as prescription medication, following a joint operation with the Prison Service.

He has been taken to Musgrave Police Station for questioning.

Two women, aged 55 and 26 were arrested on suspicion of conspiracy to convey prohibited articles into a prison, possession with intent to supply Class A & B drugs and possession of Class A & B drugs following searches of properties in Lisburn and Dungannon as part of the ongoing investigation.

Detective Chief Inspector Brian Foster, from the PSNI’s Criminal Investigation Branch, said: “During the searches in HMP Maghaberry and in the Lisburn and Dungannon areas yesterday, detectives seized a quantity of suspected Class A and Class B controlled drugs and drugs paraphernalia.

“This operation is a good example of how collaborative working can disrupt crime and also demonstrates our commitment to Keeping People Safe by removing harmful drugs from society.

“We will continue to work closely with the Prison Service to clamp down on the trafficking of illicit drugs into prisons.”

Head of the Northern Ireland Prison Service, Ronnie Armour, said: “I welcome the result of this joint operation with the Police Service of Northern Ireland. Removing dangerous drugs from Maghaberry will help to keep staff and prisoners safe.

“I would commend everyone involved in this operation.”

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