OFFICERS from the Paramilitary Crime Task Force, targeting the drug supply network of West Belfast UDA, have charged a 45 year old man with possession of class B drugs, possession of class B drugs with intent to supply, possessing criminal property and concealing criminal property.

He is due to appear at Belfast Magistrates’ Court on Wednesday 22nd April.

As is normal procedure all charges are reviewed by the PPS.

The charges follow the arrest of a man in the Glen Estate area of Newtownards on Tuesday 21st April.

Detective Inspector O’Neill, from the PCTF, said: “This search operation targeted the drug supply network of West Belfast UDA, operating in Newtownards. 

“Today we seized suspected cannabis, with a street value of approximately £20,000 and a substantial quantity of cash.

“This is part of our continued prioritisation of preventing harm caused to our communities by paramilitary groups who supply drugs to local people in order to line their own pockets and then use that money for their own selfish gains.  

“This arrest and seizure is a further demonstration that the PCTF continues to investigate all types of organised criminality linked to paramilitaries, in an ongoing effort to rid our communities of the harm these groups cause and of their coercive control.

“This supply of drugs  to communities brings in substantial money which is then used to fund paramilitary groups and allow them to continue to operate within our communities.

“The man arrested has been taken to Musgrave Custody Suite, where he is currently being questioned by detectives.

“I would encourage anyone with information about any type of paramilitary organised criminality to contact police on 101.

“Alternatively, information can also be provided to the independent charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111, which is 100% anonymous and gives people the power to speak up and stop crime.”

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