Minister welcomes investigation into cross border criminality

The objective of the Task Force is to build on existing law enforcement frameworks and to increase the collective effectiveness of operational law enforcement actions.

Minister for Justice, Heather Humphreys has welcomed the actions taken by An Garda Síochána and the PSNI as part of the Joint Agency Task Force (JATF) in a two-day cross border investigation targeting organised illegal drug criminality.

Working as part of the Joint Agency Task Force (JATF), Gardaí conducted seven searches of properties in Co Donegal and Co Dublin earlier this week.

The raids were part of a two-day cross border investigation targeting organised illegal drug criminality linked to the INLA specifically.

Searches were conducted by Gardaí in Kerrykeel and Buncrana in Co Donegal, and in Finglas Co Dublin on Wednesday June 9, 2021 and resulted in a number of electronic devices being seized.

The search operation involved local Detective and Drug Units, the Special Detective Unit, the Armed Support Unit and the Garda Dog Unit.

Officers from the PSNI Paramilitary Crime Task Force (PCTF) arrested eight men and one woman as part of this cross border investigation in Derry.

These individuals, aged between 27 and 42, were arrested in the Derry and Limavady areas.

The woman has been released on street bail and all eight men held in custody.

During the two-day operation Officers from the PCTF, supported by colleagues from Police Service of Northern Ireland’s Operational Support Department and local District Policing conducted eight searches and seized a significant quantity of suspected cannabis, suspected Class A controlled drugs, and a substantial quantity of cash in Euros.

Minister Humphreys welcomed the strategic focus of the policing operation saying: “The joint actions by An Garda Síochána and the PSNI over the last two days demonstrate the strong ongoing cooperation which is having a significant impact in tackling cross border crime and enhancing the safety of all communities on this island through the Joint Agency Task Force.”

She added: “The JATF has made a real impact since its establishment under the Fresh Start Agreement and the strategic focus which it brings will continue to target the criminal gangs who want to exploit the border.”

The 2015 Fresh Start Agreement which faciliated the established the formal mandate for a Cross Border Joint Agency Task Force is led by senior officers from An Garda Síochána, the PSNI, the Revenue Commissioners and Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs.

A number of other relevant bodies, including the National Crime Agency and the Criminal Assets Bureau are also involved in operational activity.

The objective of the Task Force is to build on existing law enforcement frameworks and to increase the collective effectiveness of operational law enforcement actions.

Back in February this year the JATF were involved in an operation tacking rural crime which involved the cooperation of the PSNI and the Garda North Western Regional Armed Support Unit, the Garda Air Support Unit, regular Policing Units, Detective Branches, and roads policing units from the Louth, Cavan/Monaghan, Sligo/Leitrim, and Donegal divisions.

This specific day of action spanned the entire border area concentrating on cross border burglaries and Organised Crime Gangs that use the border corridor to facilitate their criminal activity.

During the operation a number of detections were made.

A total of five a were made for those driving under the influence of an intoxicant, three detections were made for drugs possession arising from a number of drugs searches, and three vehicles were seized under Section 41 of the Road Traffic Act.

One man in his 40s was arrested following the seizure of suspected heroin, amphetamines and cannabis in Monaghan.

Separately, the PSNI made 12 arrests, eight drugs seizures and seized three vehicles during the operation.

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