Four men charged over £1m cannabis haul in Belfast

By David Hunter

Four men have been charged with drug and immigration offences after the seizure of almost £1 million worth of herbal cannabis in Belfast. 

The men, aged 38, 29, 29 and 19, were arrested on Wednesday after searches in the north and west of the city.

They're due before the city's magistrates court later. 

Police targeting a Triad-linked crime gang intercepted the 110lb (50kg) of the illegal drug during a proactive operation on Wednesday.

Detective Superintendent Bobby Singleton said officers searched two properties in the Shore Road and Springfield Road areas.

Two vehicles were stopped on the M2 near the Moneynick junction.

Mr Singleton said two men were arrested in the Shore Road property on suspicion of the importation and supply of drugs.

A further two were arrested in a vehicle on the motorway on suspicion of supply of these drugs and a number of immigration offences.

The senior officer added: "This is another significant haul of drugs, which is linked to our previous successes against a South East Asian organised crime gang operating in Northern Ireland.

"We believe this organised crime gang is Triad-linked."

He said gangs like this group make huge amounts of money from the illegal trade.

"Some people think that buying and using cannabis is harmless - that's simply not the case.

"Use of cannabis itself can damage your physical and mental health. Cannabis remains the most used drug by persons in treatment in Northern Ireland for drug addiction.

"The money people spend on it promotes and encourages the growth of these gangs who not only use violence and intimidation to maintain their control in our communities but are also involved in other organised crime like human trafficking."

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