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UDA swoop Police investigating South East Antrim UDA make six "significant" arrests

Arrests relate to a kilo of cocaine which was seized last year

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80 officers were involved in searches in Carrickfergus in which six men were arrested

80 officers were involved in searches in Carrickfergus in which six men were arrested

80 officers were involved in searches in Carrickfergus in which six men were arrested

The National Crime Agency, together with the PSNI's Paramilitary Crime Task Force (PCTF), have arrested six men in connection with an investigation into the alleged organised crime activities of South East Antrim UDA.

The men, aged 33, 38, 39, 40 and 43 were detained in the Carrickfergus area today on suspicion of conspiring to supply class A drugs and are being questioned at Musgrave Street police station.

The NCA said the "significant" arrests are related to the seizure of over a kilo of cocaine which was found during searches of two parked cars and nearby land in the Greenisland area of Co Antrim in November of last year.

Speaking at a media facility at PSNI’s Knock headquarters today, Deputy Director on Investigations at the NCA, Craig Naylor, said both the NCA and the PSNI feel the operation has caused “substantial disruption” to SEA UDA's alleged organised crime activities.

He said: “The investigation will continue with the evidence we have retrieved today.

“The SEA UDA have long been known to be involved in many forms of organised criminality, doing untold damage to the community and exerting fear in neighbourhoods.

“Working with our partners in the PCTF we are determined to do all we can to bring that to an end.”

The PSNI’s Head of Criminal Investigations Branch, Detective Chief Superintendent John McVea, said: “Working with our partners in the Paramilitary Crime Task Force, we are committed to continuing to target the organised criminality associated with all paramilitary gangs who exploit their local communities to cause harm and create fear.

“Today’s search and arrest operation is a significant milestone in an investigation into the drug dealing activities of the South East Antrim UDA. The harm caused by illegal drugs to individuals and communities is evident.

“Drugs cause nothing but destruction and distress, not only to the people who take them, but also to their families who deal with the heartbreaking fall out associated with drugs, including death, spiralling debts and intimidation.

“Criminals who supply illegal drugs don’t care who they harm in the process of making money to line their own pockets and fund other paramilitary activities.

“The PCTF has the resilience and determination to target, disrupt and frustrate those who continue to do the greatest harm to the people living in our communities.”

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