Two men have been arrested as part of a National Crime Agency investigation into the attempted importation of a firearm into Northern Ireland.
The pair, aged 38 and 29, were detained at an address in Ballymoney this morning (13 October) following a joint operation involving the Police Service of Northern Ireland and NCA officers.
They are now being questioned by NCA investigators, while searches at addresses in Ballymoney continue.
The arrests follow a Border Force seizure of a package containing a functioning handgun, two magazines and more than 50 rounds of ammunition at an international parcel hub in England.
NCA Belfast branch commander David Cunningham said:
“This is an excellent example of how the NCA, PSNI and Border Force are working together to prevent firearms making it on to our streets.
“Those wishing to bring firearms into our communities do so for one reason, to cause serious harm. Stopping the supply is a priority for us and we will do everything we can, with our partners, to bring those responsible to justice.”
Commenting on the arrests, Councillor William McCandless said ” I wish to congratulate our local PSNI Commander for the excellent work in apprehending firearms today in a border force seizure in collaboration with the NCA. This obviously involved many man-hours by local officers and NCA and their concerted effort could potentially prevent many crimes and possibly save lives.
How do illegal firearms find their way onto our streets in spite of the tight controls in the UK? Firearms can become available through theft, modifications, reactivation of deactivated weapons and conversions.
The National Crime Agency ( NCA ) were formed seven years ago. It is a crime fighting law enforcement agency responsible for leading the UK’s fight to tackle serious and organised crime.
The NCA works at the forefront of law enforcement having gathered the best possible intelligence of crime threats and relentlessly pursuing the most serious and dangerous offenders whilst utilising their specialist capabilities.
Serious and organised crime increasingly affects UK citizens more frequently than any other national security threat and leads to more deaths in the UK each year than all other national security threats combined.