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  • Writer's pictureLove Ballymena

PSNI crack social media messaging groups offering drugs and firearms for sale

PSNI logo on green background with two mobile phones

Detectives from the Police Service’s Organised Crime Branch are investigating the illicit supply of drugs offered via social media messaging apps.


Part of Operation Dealbreaker, the investigation focuses on criminals offering drugs for sale on messaging apps that have been identified from mobiles seized within the Greater Belfast area. 



Detective Superintendent Emma Neill said:


“Within these private groups, a seller typically offers to supply all kinds of drugs, as well as counterfeit goods and currency.  On a small number of occasions, even firearms have been offered. 


“The drugs are often listed in menu-style formats: with the list of drugs available, the respective breakdown of prices per quantity, and an explanation of how to purchase.” 


Detective Superintendent Neill continued:


“We recognise that a large number of group members are not actively engaged in criminality.  Some may be recipients of unwelcome messages, in which case our advice is simply to leave the group immediately.

 


“And, unfortunately, some individuals may be suffering from addiction. We’ve therefore commenced the process of messaging, and signposting to support, those who wish to get help for drug misuse.


“Those, however, who are offering illicit goods or who are engaged in criminal offences are being robustly investigated. 


“Detectives from our Organised Crime Branch have identified over 50 mobile numbers of those engaged in the most serious criminal, drug-related activity. 


“Since May of this year, we have conducted 18 related search operations and arrested 14 people.  Nine of those arrested have been charged to court, with the remainder released on investigative bail.



"During the searches, quantities of Class A, B and C controlled drugs, along with cash and high value assets have been seized.”


The Police Service works with a huge range of partners, including those represented on the Organised Crime Task Force, to tackle the supply and use of illicit drugs. It also recognises the significant public health issue and works with the Department of Health and Public Health Agency, along with a number of charities.  


Detective Superintendent Neill added:


“This investigation is just one part of ongoing and huge collective efforts to tackle the scourge of drugs.


“Drugs can be distributed by individual dealers or by organised crime groups, thus feeding wider organised criminality. Whatever the source, we have seen the same devastating aftermath all too often. We’ve seen vulnerable lives ruined and lost, with families left to pick up the pieces.”




She concluded:


“Anyone who thinks they might have a problem with alcohol and/or drugs and would like to get help can visit www.drugsandalcoholni.info   This website also includes details of services available for individuals affected by someone else’s drinking and/or drug misuse.”


The Police Service is appealing to anyone with information on the supply of illegal drugs to contact officers on 101. Alternatively, contact the charity Crimestoppers, with total anonymity, on freephone 0800 555 111 or online at www.crimestoppers-uk.org. There is no caller line display and no 1471 facility.

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