24 March 2005


Ex-policeman at centre of drugs cash probe

24/03/2005 - 15:07:30

A suspected drugs baron at the centre of a major investigation in Northern Ireland is a former police officer, it emerged today.

Colin Armstrong, 38, owns nearly 50 properties worth an estimated £5m (€7.2m) including an apartment on the French Riviera.

His bank accounts on both sides of the Irish border – he also has a flat in Dublin – have also been frozen as part of the inquiry which followed an 18-month long undercover probe by the Assets Recovery Agency.

Armstrong, who lives with his partner at a luxury house at Glenavy, Co.Antrim, once served as a full-time reservist with the Royal Ulster Constabulary.

He was stationed in Co.Armagh at one time, it been claimed.

Investigations into his financial affairs are going back more than a decade, after it was alleged by the agency that he imported illegal drugs from Belgium into Northern Ireland in 1994 when he had links with the loyalist paramilitary Ulster Volunteer Force in Mid Ulster where nearly all his properties are based.

The Police Service of Northern Ireland confirmed: “He was a full time reserve officer who left in August 1991.”

However, it is understood his resignation following disciplinary action was not as a result of any criminal activity.

Although questioned several times by drugs squad officers investigating the distribution of drugs to clubs in North Down and on the North Coast, Armstrong has never been charged.

He is now under investigation by an interim receiver appointed by the High Court, but who has not been identified, and who now has control of all the properties, including an apartment on the Cote d’Azur and his home at Glenavy where his lives with his partner, Geraldine Mallon.

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