Friday 13 December 2019

Police seize €3.1m worth of cocaine in 'one of biggest ever drugs hauls' in Northern Ireland

An estimated 50 kilograms of suspected cocaine was found at a commercial premises in County Tyrone yesterday.
An estimated 50 kilograms of suspected cocaine was found at a commercial premises in County Tyrone yesterday.

Around 110lb (50kg) of cocaine have been seized in Northern Ireland in what police have described as one of the biggest ever drugs hauls.

The Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) said they received a tip-off and searches uncovered two suitcases packed with packets of white powder hidden among a furniture delivery consignment at commercial premises in Co Tyrone yesterday.

Detective Superintendent Noel Mullan, from the PSNI's organised crime branch said: "A conservative value for this haul would be £2.5 million. A street value would be substantially higher.

"It is undoubtedly one of the biggest cocaine finds ever made in Northern Ireland."

Over a three-year period from 2011/12 to 2013/14 the PSNI found a total of 108lb (49kg) of cocaine during 1,053 seizure incidents - an average of 1.7oz (47g) each.

Only two seizures weighed 6.6lb (3kg) or more, while half were of just 0.04oz (1g) or less.

Mr Mullan added: "Last night we got 50 kilos.

"We will be working with law enforcement colleagues in various parts of the world to establish where this came from, where it was going to and who was involved.

"It is unlikely that such a substantial amount was destined for the Northern Ireland market but we'll see where our inquiries lead."

There is no suggestion that the company based at the premises knew what was in the container.

The drugs have been taken, under armed guard, to the Northern Ireland Forensic Science laboratories in Carrickfergus, Co Antrim, for further testing.

Mr Mullan added: "We are committed to keeping people in Northern Ireland safe and we will follow all lines of inquiry with law enforcement colleagues around the world and with local communities to reduce the threat posed by drugs."

Meanwhile, in an unconnected incident, Dutch authorities have seized 44lb (20kg) of cocaine worth around £1 million at a port in Holland which was destined for the Fermanagh area of Northern Ireland.

There were no arrests during either seizure.

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