Criminal syndicates are now smuggling drugs in Northern Ireland via PPE shipments (Personal Protective Equipment). Postal workers identified anomalies when processing these shipments, prompting the involvement of law enforcement. Smugglers continuously work towards evading capture & identification when shipping illegal drugs. Northern Ireland’s Justice Minister noted that this marks the first instance of criminals smuggling drugs via PPE shipments.
Justice Minister Naomi Long clarified that criminal syndicates are exploiting international requirements for Personal Protective Equipment. Investigations were initiated after postal workers identified the illegal drugs, with research revealing that syndicates sold falsified stockpiles of PPE Facemasks to retailers in Northern Ireland. Those legal purchases enabled the unidentified criminal entity to smuggle drugs through PPE packaging.
Naomi Long emphasis that syndicates stooping low enough to exploit circumstances associated with Covid-19 is repulsive and proves these individuals care about finances more than human survival. Northern Ireland’s Justice Minister is disgusted because hundreds of anticipated PPE Facemasks are now eliminated from the marketplace. Concealing drugs & eliminating protective gear for hundreds of civilians is unforgivable. Northern Ireland’s Justice Minister will work alongside international intelligence agencies to locate this criminal syndicate & bring them to justice.
Northern Ireland’s Organized Crime Task Force issued an annual report which indicated the various methods employed by syndicates to smuggle illegal narcotics. Washing powder & floor packaging would become the two most used methods by criminal entities. This annual report also indicated that Northern Ireland’s OCTF assisted in rescuing 111+ victims of modern-day slavery. Additional contraband collected by the Task Force included cigarettes, alcohol, and thousands of counterfeited goods.
Naomi Long clarified that Northern Ireland strives towards making criminal syndicates unprofitable & eliminate their finances, ultimately toppling their organization. Justice Minister Long explained that 2021 would see updated legislation enacted & will provide law enforcement additional power in fighting criminal syndicates.
Those additional power include Account Freezing, Unexplained Wealth Orders, Forfeiture Powers, Seizing Criminal Assets, and multiple other measures that are being kept private for national security. Naomi Long finalized her sentiments by evoking numerous other proposals are being enacted to combat criminal organizations.