Police in Londonderry investigating INLA criminality have seized a haul of weapons, including two assault rifles and one submachine gun.
Seven searches have been carried out under the Terrorism Act, in an operation carried out by the PSNI’s Organised Crime Unit and supported by Revenue & Customs.
Class B drugs, £13,000 in cash, counterfeit clothing and DVDs, phones, tablets, documentation, over 7,000 illicit cigarettes and a quantity of tobacco were also seized.
Two men were arrested.
A 43-year-old man was released on bail pending further enquiries, while a 44-year-old man remains in custody assisting police with their enquiries.
A further search carried out in Co Donegal by An Garda Síochána led to the seizure of 60,000 cigarettes, plus more tobacco, counterfeit goods, and money.
PSNI District Commander Superintendent Gordon McCalmont slammed the INLA for claiming to protect the community in Derry and Strabane, stating: “The reality is that they use violence and intimidation to control and exploit those communities.”
He added: “Weapons like the ones seized today pose a threat to everyone and anyone who brings guns onto our streets does not care about our community.
“When a gun is fired, there is no guarantee where the bullet could end up, or who it could harm, and the people of our city have seen the damage and devastation that this can cause.”
Superintendent McCalmont urged people to realise that the sale of counterfeit goods and illicit cigarettes is not a victimless crime as it helps fund terrorism and criminality.
“Many INLA members are involved in a range of criminal money-making rackets, including the supply of controlled drugs, blackmail, extortion and money-laundering,” he said.
“Despite what they say, it is clear that they do not mind drug dealers operating in the local area – as long as they’re getting their ‘cut’ from the profits.
“Local families suffer at the expense of INLA members lining their pockets.”