Northern Ireland

Four men in court after major 'skunk' cannabis find in Northern Ireland

Newtownards Magistrates Court
Image caption Jian Wen Chen, 29, from Belfast, Jiazhu Cia, 30, from Ballywalter, Yong He, 33, from Belfast and Wei Zou, 32, from Bangor appeared at Newtownards Magistrates' Court on Thursday

Four men have appeared in court as part of an international investigation into the supply of 'skunk' cannabis to NI.

Jian Wen Chen, 29, of Belfast, Jiazhu Cia, 30, of Ballywalter, Yong He, 33, from Belfast and Wei Zou, 32, from Bangor appeared in court on Thursday.

They have been charged with a number of offences related to drug trafficking and money laundering.

It followed the seizure of £800,000 of 'skunk' and cash during 10 searches across Northern Ireland.

Police carried out searches in Belfast, Greenisland, Bangor, Newtownards and Ballywalter.

The four men were among six people, including two women, arrested on Tuesday.

The women, aged 29 and 26, have since been released on police bail pending further inquiries.

On Wednesday evening, a 37-year-old man was arrested in England, to be brought to Northern Ireland for questioning.

He was detained by police in Birmingham but it is expected that he will be transferred to be interviewed by the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI).

Eight people were also arrested in Italy. 'Skunk' cannabis plants were also seized there.

It is believed the total value of the 'skunk' seized in Northern Ireland and Italy was £4.25m and was destined for Northern Ireland.

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