SEVERAL Samuarai swords were among the weapons seized when officers from the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) carried out a series of raids at properties across Co. Armagh.
Detectives from the PSNI’s Organised Crime Branch carried out the house searches in Portadown on February 6, as part of an ongoing investigation into an organised crime group.
They were accompanied by local officers from Armagh, Banbridge and Craigavon District and Tactical Support Teams as they searched six houses in the Garvaghy Road area of the town.
During the searches, officers recovered nine suspected firearms, several Samurai swords, approximately £6,000 in cash, quantities of Class A and B controlled drugs and related paraphernalia.
One man, aged in his twenties, was arrested on suspicion of drugs and firearms-related offences. He is currently assisting detectives with enquiries.
Detective Chief Inspector Richard Thornton, from the Organised Crime Branch, said: “[The] six searches are part of an ongoing investigation into an organised crime group, which is involved in serious and organised crime including the supply of drugs and firearms.
Including [these searches], we have carried out 27 searches and made eight arrests since this investigation began in October 2022.
“We have seized two knuckle-dusters, two machetes, a quantity of herbal cannabis and over half a kilo of cocaine.
“We have also seized and confiscated a vehicle, and over £15,000 as suspected proceeds of crime.”
He explained: “This is a robust investigation into a serious and organised crime group who are involved in the most serious of criminality.
“This group is responsible for bringing firearms and illicit drugs into the country, particularly the greater Craigavon area, putting local people at risk.
“Illegal guns are smuggled in for one purpose only, and that is to cause injury and death.
“Drugs are equally dangerous as they ruin lives and damage our communities.
“These criminals line their own pockets and live lavish lifestyles at the expense of others, leaving families and loved ones to deal with the inevitable devastation.
The PSNI confirmed that the criminality of the organised crime group they are investigating “stretches beyond the borders of Northern Ireland”.
Det Ch Insp Thornton added: “We will continue to work alongside key law enforcement partners in Northern Ireland, Republic of Ireland and further afield to carry out operations in order to break the cycle of those who cause harm through the illegal importation and supply of drugs and firearms."
Anyone with information should contact police on 101 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.