Two men have been charged in connection with the discovery of a military-style assault weapon” and drugs worth £50,000.
The discoveries were made in Carrickfergus and Belfast on Friday.
A 33-year-old man and a 44-year-old man face a number of charges.
These include possessing a firearm and ammunition in suspicious circumstances and having drugs with intent to supply.
The men are due to appear before Belfast Magistrates’ Court on Monday, May 8 for a first remand hearing.
District Commander for Mid & East Antrim, Superintendent Gillian Kearney said: “Local officers stopped a vehicle in the North Road area of Carrickfergus on Friday, 5th May when they saw what they believed to be suspicious activity.
“A small quantity of suspected Class B controlled drugs were located on a 33-year-old man and searches were subsequently carried out at a nearby property.
“A number of items were seized, including a suspected assault weapon, magazine and ammunition, a large quantity of suspected Class A controlled drugs, a further amount of suspected Class B controlled drugs and drug-related paraphernalia.
“Additional searches were conducted at a second property in Carrickfergus and a property in central Belfast.
“During these searches, a number of items were seized including a quantity of suspected Class B and Class C controlled drugs and drug-related paraphernalia.
Detective Inspector McCamley of Organised Crime Branch said: “This operation is part of an investigation into the activity of a criminal gang and the activities of those who we suspect have been engaged in organised crime throughout Northern Ireland.
“The suspected firearm is a highly significant find. We are investigating how the weapon was obtained, and how the suspects intended to use it.
“This could have been used to threaten, intimidate and ultimately kill, and the removal of this weapon along with a large amount of drugs intended for our streets, has made our community safer.
“The people who are involved in this type of dangerous and life-threatening criminality put entire communities at risk.
“The Police Service of Northern Ireland will continue to work with communities across Northern Ireland to relentlessly tackle the scourge of criminals who use the threat of violence in an attempt to coercively take control of people’s lives.
“Together we can tackle this.
“I know that communities want to live in peace without the threat of being innocently caught up in the activities of violent criminals.
“I would encourage anyone with information that could assist in our efforts to contact us on the non-emergency number 101.”