UVF drugs raids: police charge six people

Six people have been arrested in a major operation into the criminal activities of the Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF) in east Belfast
Six people have been arrested in a major operation into the criminal activities of the Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF) in east Belfast
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Six people arrested following during anti-UVF related raids by police today have been charged with a string of drugs related offences.

The Paramilitary Crime Task Force supported by local police carried out raids in east and north Belfast, Ards and Newtownabbey today as part of an operation focused on drug dealing and other criminal activities of the East Belfast UVF.

:: Two men aged 32 and 40 have been charged with possession and supply of class A drugs

:: Two men, both aged 24 have been charged with supplying Class A drugs and possession of a class B drug

:: A woman aged 46 and a 37-year-old man have been charged with the supply of a class A controlled drug

All are due to appear at Belfast Magistrates’ Court on Thursday 18 April.

Suspected illegal drugs were found at four of the addresses searched today. Chief Superintendent Jonathan Roberts said, “There are five key priority groups for the Paramilitary Crime Task Force [PCTF] and they comprise those who pose the greatest risk, harm and threat to our communities. Today’s operation was developed to tackle the criminality of paramilitaries, specifically the East Belfast UVF in this case.

“The East Belfast UVF have been a priority for the PCTF since its inception due to the breadth and scale of their involvement in serious crime, including the supply of drugs and the violence and coercion that goes hand in hand with this. As with all of the key groups under investigation by the PCTF, they exist for the sole purpose of exploiting and controlling their own communities.

“Criminals that involve themselves in illegal drugs cause serious harm and misery in the community and can expect to be the subject of police investigation. They can expect to be arrested and every effort to be made to put them before the court.

“This type of police activity will continue. Today’s actions are evidence that Police will deal with illegal drugs and criminality.”

He urged any member of the community who is “living in fear of criminals” to contact their local neighbourhood police on 101 or to provide information anonymously on Crimestoppers 0800 555 111.

Police investigations against the East Belfast UVF have increased since the murder of Ian Ogle in the area in January, which has been linked to the organisation.