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Last Updated: Wednesday, 11 October 2006, 12:27 GMT 13:27 UK
18m drugs haul 'largest in NI'
The drugs were found in a warehouse
The drugs were found in a warehouse in Newtownards (picture: PSNI)
A cannabis seizure made in County Down had an estimated street value of 18m - making it the largest drugs haul in Northern Ireland, police have said.

The drugs were understood to have been in a single shipment which was brought to a warehouse in Newtownards.

They were seized in an intelligence-led operation involving police and the Revenue and Customs Service on Tuesday.

A paramilitary link to the smuggling operation is not suspected by police at this stage.

Two men have been arrested in connection with the seizure.

The police said the find was part of a commitment by the Organised Crime Task Force to crack down on illegal drugs.

Cannabis is a dangerous drug and has the capacity to cause real harm
Paul Goggins
Security minister

Drugs Squad Chief Detective Superintendent Hayden Bell said: "We know there has been a considerable drought of cannabis.

"Had an amount like this hit the streets there would have been considerable demand for it, and it would have reached Northern Ireland, Southern Ireland and possibly back into the UK mainland."

Security minister Paul Goggins, who chairs the Organised Crime Task Force, said the seizure "clearly demonstrates the effectiveness of our multi-agency approach".

"Cannabis is a dangerous drug and has the capacity to cause real harm," he added.

"Working together, these agencies have been able to remove illegal drugs from our communities and take the profit out of organised crime."




VIDEO AND AUDIO NEWS
Tara Mills reports on the drugs find



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