By Rebecca Black and David Young, PA
Nine suspected or replica firearms and six swords have been seized during a police operation against an organised crime gang in Co Armagh.
Three rounds of ammunition and £6,000 in cash were also recovered, along with quantities of class A and B drugs and associated paraphernalia, in six house searches in the Garvaghy Road area of Portadown on Monday.
One man in his 20s has been arrested.
PSNI Detective Chief Inspector Richard Thornton from the police organised crime branch said the searches were part of a wider investigation into serious and organised crime in the greater Craigavon area related to the importation and supply of drugs and firearms.
He said 27 searches have been carried out since the investigation began in October 2022.
Items recovered during the investigation include two knuckledusters, two machetes, a quantity of herbal cannabis and more than half a kilo of cocaine.
A vehicle was also seized, along with suspected proceeds of crime of more than £15,000.
Mr Thornton said: “This is a robust and wide-reaching investigation into serious and organised crime that stretches beyond the borders of Northern Ireland and we will continue to work alongside key law enforcement partners in Northern Ireland, the Republic of Ireland and further afield to carry out operations in order to break the cycle of those who cause harm through illegal importation and supply of drugs and firearms.
“The risk of serious harm to our communities is clear.
“Illegal firearms are smuggled in for one purpose only, and that’s to cause injury and death.
“Drugs are equally as dangerous, as they ruin lives and damage our communities.
“These criminals line their own pockets and live lavish lifestyles at the expense of others, leaving families and loved ones to deal with the inevitable devastation.”