Prison drugs trafficking probe: Five people arrested are released on bail

Maghaberry Prison.
Maghaberry Prison.

Five people arrested as part of an investigation into the trafficking of drugs and other prohibited items into Maghaberry Prison have been released on bail pending further enquiries.

Detectives from PSNI’s Reactive and Organised Crime Branch, working in conjunction with the NI Prison Service, arrested the five people and seized a quantity of cash and drugs during a planned operation on Tuesday, March 21.

A 50-year-old prison officer was arrested at Maghaberry on suspicion of conveyancing prohibited articles into a prison, misconduct in public office, possession of criminal property and being concerned in the supply of Class A drugs following a joint operation with the Prison Service. He was taken to Musgrave Police Station for questioning.

Four further arrests were made on Tuesday and three properties were searched in Newtownabbey, Belfast and Kinallen as part of the ongoing investigation.

A man aged 28 and a woman aged 26 were arrested in Newtownabbey on suspicion of conveyancing prohibited articles into a prison. The 28 year old male was also arrested for possession of a Class B controlled drug and possession of fireworks.

A 55 year old woman was arrested at an address in Belfast on suspicion of possession of a Class B controlled drug, possession of a class B controlled drug with intent to supply, possession of criminal property, and conveyancing prohibited articles into a prison.

A 50 year old woman was arrested in Kinallen on suspicion of possession of a Class A controlled drug and possession of criminal property.

They were all taken to Musgrave Police Station for questioning.

PSNI’s Head of Reactive and Organised Crime, Chief Superintendent Tim Mairs said: “Detectives seized £10,000 cash, a quantity of suspected Class A and Class B controlled drugs and a number of mobile phones. This operation is a good example of how collaborative working can disrupt crime and also demonstrates our commitment to keeping people safe by removing harmful drugs from society.”

Head of the Prison Service, Ronnie Armour, added: “I welcome the result of this joint operation with the PSNI and would take this opportunity to reiterate the zero tolerance drugs policy which operates within Northern Ireland’s prisons.”