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£2m of drugs and cash seized in organised crime probe

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Cannabis worth £1.5 million was seized during a two-year police operation on both sides of the Irish Sea, the High Court has heard.

More than £500,000 in cash was also recovered in an offensive which resulted in 14 men and women being arrested, prosecutors said.

Details emerged on Wednesday as bail was granted to a man accused of being a “significant” member of a crime gang importing drugs into Northern Ireland.

Terry Waikoklee Lee faces a total of 12 charges including possessing and being concerned in the supply of cannabis, and having and transferring criminal property.

The 34-year-old, of Apsley Street in Belfast, was arrested last month.

A prosecuting lawyer said police believe he rented two addresses used to receive cannabis parcels sent from England.

Cash generated from the sale of the drugs was also allegedly dispersed from these locations, the court heard.

The investigation has focused on properties in south east Belfast and Carrickfergus, Co Antrim.

At one location suspected of being used to dry cannabis around £300,000 of the drugs was recovered.

Officers also seized £100,000 from another address and confiscated £250,000 sent in the post, a judge was told.

“However, police believe other cash parcels have been successfully posted and never recovered,” the barrister said.

The charges against Lee cover a period between July 2012 and last month.

He is allegedly linked by a description given of the man who rented one of the properties.

“Police would assess the applicant as being a significant member of an organised crime gang involved in drugs importation,” the prosecutor claimed.

“This police operation has resulted in arrests and prosecutions of 14 men and women in England and Northern Ireland, and the recovery of £1.5m in herbal cannabis and over £500,000 in cash.”

Granting bail, Mr Justice Weatherup ordered Lee to produce two cash sureties of £5,000 each before he is released.

The accused must also report to police daily, abide by a curfew and cannot leave Belfast without notifying the authorities.

 

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