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Two men arrested in investigation into INLA-linked criminality in Derry and Strabane

They have been taken to Musgrave Serious Crime Suite for questioning by police.

TWO MEN HAVE been arrested earlier today by detectives investigating criminality linked to the INLA. 

A 57-year-old man was arrested under the Terrorism Act in the Galliagh area of Derry and a 19-year-old man was arrested under the Terrorism Act and the Misuse of Drugs Act in the Strabane area. 

They have been taken to Musgrave Serious Crime Suite for questioning by police. 

Today’s arrests are part of an ongoing PSNI investigation into the criminality of the INLA in the north-west. 

The PSNI said the INLA in the north-west are involved in “violence, extortion and the supply of controlled drugs, illicit cigarettes and counterfeit goods”. 

This strand of the investigation is looking to take action against those directing criminality and money laundering. 

The PSNI said part of today’s operation also related to an investigation into an incident on 20 May in the Divis area of Belfast, when an individual “recklessly used an automatic weapon to fire a series of shots into the air in a heavily populated area”. 

Detective Inspector Tom McClure said: 

The INLA in Derry and Strabane claim to be protecting their communities by shooting people who they accuse of being involved in crime but the reality is that they use violence and intimidation to control and exploit their communities. 
Their real motive for using extreme brutality is to try and ensure that no one speaks out or encroaches on what they see as ‘their patch’, where they try to run organised criminal rackets solely for their own financial gain. 

“Sometimes they even shoot people who they feel do not show them ‘respect’ or who they simply do not like.” 

McClure said today’s activity is evidence of the PSNI’s “commitment to end paramilitary organised criminality in all its forms whether that be drug dealing, intimidation or paramilitary assaults”. 

“However, I recognise and understand that there are some who may be reluctant to report crime to the PSNI for various reasons,” he said. 

“I would like to reassure everyone in the community that the PSNI will investigate all reports of crime and anti-social behaviour lawfully, fairly and proportionately, and where there is evidence bring this before the courts.”

The PSNI is appealing to anyone with information regarding criminality by paramilitary organisations to contact police on 101. Alternatively, information can be provided anonymously to UK Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111. 

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