Northern Ireland

Drugs seized in searches linked to South East Antrim UDA

UDA mural Image copyright Pacemaker
Image caption The drugs were uncovered following searches targeting the South-East Antrim UDA

Police have seized "a large quantity" of drugs in searches targeting the South-East Antrim Ulster Defence Association (UDA).

The discovery follows searches of business premises in Newtownards, County Down, on Monday.

Cocaine, herbal cannabis and mixing agent were uncovered.

A man in his 40s was arrested on suspicion of a number of offences including possession of Class A and Class B drugs with intent to supply.

He was later released on police bail pending further enquiries.

Officers from the PSNI and the Paramilitary Crime Task Force (PCTF) were involved in the searches.

In April this year the Ulster Defence Assocation (UDA), Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF) and the Red Hand Commando issued a joint statement stating that they fully support the rule of law and suggesting that any members involved in crime would be expelled.

Detective Inspector Lynne Knox from PCTF said: "Following a proactive policing operation targeting drugs criminality believed to be linked to the South East Antrim UDA, officers carried out a number of searches resulting in the seizure of a large quantity of suspected herbal cannabis and cocaine.

"A quantity of mixing agent was also seized and if mixed with cocaine, the overall seizure has a potential street value of £100,000.

"The harm caused by drug misuse impacts on people's lives at every level in Northern Ireland."

Anyone with information about drugs is asked to contact 101 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

More on this story