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Five held in £1m drug bust

Gardaí played leading role in cross-border police operation

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Britain's National Crime Agency and Northern Ireland's PSNI have both praised gardaí for their role in the seizure of cocaine worth £1m last week.

Officers from both agencies arrested five men on Thursday, detaining three in the Essex area and two in North Wales, as they swooped on a crime group suspected of attempting to import the drugs from the continent.

Four of the men are known to be based in Northern Ireland, while the other is from the north of England. Aged between 21 and 59, they are suspected of being members of the Northern Ireland- based gang.

Complex

Specialist Border Force officers were called in to conduct detailed searches of three HGVs that were seized when cops launched the operation.

In one, a complex concealment was located, which once opened was found to contain around 21 kilos of cocaine.

At the same time officers from Britain's NCA and PSNI time carried out searches at a number of properties in Northern Ireland.The investigation had been supported by the gardaí, including members of the Organised Crime Task Force who came in for praise for their efforts.

NCA Regional Head of Investigations Gerry McLean said: "In making these seizures we have both prevented a large quantity of drugs from reaching our streets, and denied criminals an important avenue for smuggling.

"I'd like to thank colleagues from the PSNI, Garda and Border Force, without whom we wouldn't have been able to achieve the results we have so far."