Police are warning drug dealers in the Roe Valley it’s only a matter of time before they catch them.
The warning comes as police raided several homes in Magilligan and Limavady this week in a substantial operation as part of their crackdown on drugs.
The searches are part of the ongoing Operation Torus which, in the past year, has netted more than £500,000 worth of drugs in the Limavady area.
On Tuesday, shortly after 2pm, residents of the peaceful Drumavalley estate were taken by surprise as a convoy of police cars flooded the estate. Officers conducted lengthy searches at four separate properties within close proximity of each other.
At least 40 officers descended on the area, including members of the G District Crime Team, the Tactical Support Group from Derry, and officers from Coleraine and Limavady. The police dog was also deployed during searches at Drumavalley. A search of a property was also conducted nearby, at Oughtymoyle.
Officers were on scene for almost five hours. During the raids, police seized £1,960 in cash and approximately 28 grams of suspected herbal cannabis, with an estimated street value of £600. They also seized a bag with approximately four grams of suspected cocaine, with an estimated street value of £200. Police also seized drugs paraphernalia and found evidence that electricity meters had been tampered with.
A 47-year-old woman was arrested on drugs offences, including suspicion of possession of a Class A drug, and suspicion of possession of a Class B drug. She also arrested for obstruction and possession of criminal property. The woman has since been released on bail.
PSNI Constable Stephen Greene of the Crime Team said police are determined to disrupt the supply and sale of illegal drugs. He warns anyone involved in the illegal drugs trade the knock on the door from police is simply a matter of time.
“We have Class A and Class B drugs off the street and that sends out a message to the community we are continuing to work in partnership with them to deal with the issue of drugs,” said
“Ideally it’s about detection, but disruption is just as important. We treat the issue of drugs very seriously and any information people can give is, no matter how insignificant they think it might be, is important.”
Const. Greene warned dealers that their time and that rap on the door
“We’ve had good successes and we will action any information we get,” he said, warning: “We will proactively go after anyone involved
Limavady Area Commander, Chief Inspector Alan Hutton, said the planned operation reflects “our commitment at every level to tackling the trade in illegal dugs” and encourages the public to come forward with information.
“Our aim is to remove drugs from society, and we have had successes. In the past year we have made more than 100 seizures involving over £500,000 worth of drugs in Limavady and made more than 70 arrests,” said Insp. Hutton.
“Drugs are a constant focus for us, though not all operations involve as many officers as that in Magilligan this week. Many of our operations are a result of the information we get from people in the community. Our focus is in getting drugs off the streets and detecting those who are involved in this pernicious trade.
“We recognise, though, that there are people who are trapped in a spiral of drugs use and dependency. When these people come to our attention, bringing them into to the criminal justice system can initiate help for them to deal with that dependency through a range of assistance that is available.
“This is the best way of breaking the cycle of use and addiction and will have benefits for individuals and communities. Those who step outside the law can offer only pain, punishment, and potentially death.
“I would encourage everyone in the community to come to us with any knowledge they have about drugs use. Your information is vital to us and to the well being of our community.”
Local councillors applauded the police for the drugs operations Magilligan and Limavady.
SDLP Councillor Gerry Mullan said “too many families locally had suffered at the hands of evil dug dealers” and “anything that can be done to stem the flow of drugs into communities is to be welcomed”.
“I’m glad to see the police taking a proactive role in fighting the war on drugs. We have seen before how operations such as these have made communities safer,” he said, adding: “If anyone has information about what they suspect to be drugs activity in their area I would urge them to give that information to police, or report it anonymously to Crimestoppers.”
Sinn Fein Councillor Rory Donaghy said too many families have suffered because of drugs. He also encouraged anyone with information about suspected drugs activity in their area to report it to police, or anonymously to Crimestoppers.
“Limavady and the surrounding areas know all too well the pain and suffering drugs have brought to local families,” said Colr. Donaghy. “While this is to be welcomed we are in no doubt that is not the end of the problem and much more work needs to be done to remove this scourge on our community and I would encourage anyone with information to report it to the police.”
Sinn Fein Colr. Brenda Chivers added: “I applaud the PSNI on the work they have been doing in this area, especially over the last year, and I am sure this will continue. Combining the ongoing work of the PSNI in removing these drugs supply routes along with education programmes for our young people is the key to eradicating drug misuse.”
A resident of the Magilligan area welcomed the police searches, and said there are a lot of families with young children living locally.
“We all want our children to grow up in a safe environment, free from drugs,” said the resident. “No one wants to think of drugs activity on their doorstep. Operations like this are to be welcomed.”