Newry man one-of-six arrested as part of National Crime Agency smuggling investigation

Six people have been arrested by officers from the National Crime Agency (NCA) over attempts by a suspected crime group with links to Northern Ireland to smuggle drugs.

he NCA said the investigation involved a Northern Ireland-based haulage company who they said was believed to be moving Class A and B drugs from Europe into the UK.

Officers said a 44-year-old man originally from Newry but living in Nottinghamshire handed himself in at a police station in Nottingham on Wednesday.

The man was arrested and is being questioned over offences including drug importation, drug supply and money laundering.

A 58-year-old man from Birmingham also handed himself in to the NCA in Nottingham and was arrested on suspicion of money laundering offences.

At the same time a man from Tamworth, aged 53, was arrested on suspicion of money laundering at a location in Essex.

A man and woman, aged 51 and 21 respectively, were also arrested on suspicion of supplying Class B drugs at their home address in Peckham, London.

NCA Belfast Branch Commander David Cunningham said: “Our investigation has identified a number of importations of drugs by hauliers with links to Northern Ireland.

“We suspect the hauliers involved were providing logistics for organised crime groups involved in drug supply, both in the UK and Ireland.

”The drugs trade fuels violence and exploitation in our communities, and today’s arrests are yet another example of the NCA and its partners working together to protect the public.

“Our investigation, which has been supported by Border Force, An Garda Siochána and the Police Service of Northern Ireland, will continue.”

According to the NCA, the ongoing investigation has seen around £1 million in cash seized so far.

Seizures as part of the investigation also include 32 kilos of cannabis found by Border Force in a lorry that was about to board a ferry from Holyhead to Ireland in November 2018.

Download the Belfast Telegraph App

Get quick and easy access to the latest Northern Ireland news, sport, business and opinion with the Belfast Telegraph App.

Download on the app store Get it on Google Play