Carrickfergus cannabis factory uncovered in UDA search
A cannabis factory containing plants with an estimated street value of about £90,000 has been uncovered by police in Carrickfergus, County Antrim.
The operation was part of an ongoing investigation into criminality linked to the South East Antrim Ulster Defence Association (UDA).
The discovery was made during a search of vacant, licensed premises and two other properties on Thursday.
The plants were a combination of mature plants and seedlings.
'Steeped in drugs'
Det Ch Supt Rachel Shields said the Paramilitary Crime Task Force, who carried out the operation, continue to "disrupt the criminality linked to organised criminals".
"The substantial number of cannabis plants seized demonstrates that members of South East Antrim UDA are steeped in drugs criminality," she said.
"Ironically and hypocritically, the same people involved in the supply of cannabis and other drugs within the Carrickfergus community, are the very people carrying out paramilitary-style attacks on drugs dealers within the area."
Ms Shields added that the seizure was "another step in our ongoing commitment to preventing dangerous drugs from ending up in local communities" and "frustrating the criminal activities of paramilitaries living within them".
Police have previously seized drugs worth a potential £100,000 in searches targeting the South East Antrim UDA.