31 March 2006

INLA hands over drugs seized from cocaine ring

Belfast Telegraph

By Brendan McDaid
31 March 2006

The INLA yesterday issued a warning to drug dealers in Derry after claiming to have broken up a cocaine ring and handing a haul of drugs over to a priest.

Members of the paramilitary organisation dressed in balaclavas carried out the raids in the Galliagh area of the city on Wednesday night.

Police have confirmed they are now in possession of the drugs which they said were passed on to them by a third party.

In a statement issued through the Irish Republican Socialist Party, the INLA said: "The Derry Brigade of the Irish National Liberation Army can confirm that our volunteers were this week involved in an operation to smash a North West-based crime gang concerned with the supply and distribution of Class A drugs.

"During this operation volunteers recovered a substantial amount of cocaine estimated to be worth thousands of pounds.

"These drugs were then handed in to a priest in St Joseph's parish in Galliagh."

A priest at St Joseph's parochial house said he had no comment.

The INLA spokesman continued with a warning to drug dealers in Derry to make themselves known.

He said: "The Irish National Liberation Army view the sale and distribution of these dangerous and highly addictive drugs with serious concern, and we take this opportunity to warn all others involved in this trade to come forward and make themselves available to any member of the Irish Republican Socialist movement.

"The Irish National Liberation Army will not allow the working class people of this city to be used as cannon fodder by these criminals whose only concern is profit by whatever means available to them."

A Foyle PSNI spokesman said enquiries are continuing.

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