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‘No sign’ of illegality at Triad house

By David Whelan

THE FACE of a Triad gang active in North Belfast has been handed a 15 month prison sentence for her involvement in a multi-million pound drug operation.
Lan Lan Guo, 31, posed as a respectable business woman to dupe unknowing landlords of at least nine different properties including two addresses in Ardoyne and in Ballysillan.
The accommodations in Estorial Park and Oakley Street which were rented by Guo, through money given to her by Triad bosses, sat vacant but were used as drop off points for huge quantities of drugs to supply local drug dealers and to store cash.
The North Belfast News was unsuccessful in making contact with the local estate agents responsible for the houses but a local resident in Ardoyne said that there had never been any suggestion of suspicious activity from the property.
Guo was arrested from her Campden Street flat in the south of the city last year after police intercepted a package containing £18,000 in cash being sent from Belfast to London, which contained her fingerprints.
It is believed that the cash and another £10,500 found following a raid of her home were the proceeds of drug sales and were being sent to Triad bosses.
Following her initial arrest Guo originally told police that she had been trafficked to the north of Ireland to work as a prostitute but the seemingly respectable Chinese woman with impeccable English later admitted to being a low ranking member of the Triads.
The High Court heard that a total of £54,000 in cash and 10 kilos of cannabis passed through the rented properties between October 2012 and July 2013 but that the overall value of the operation had been in its millions.
Commenting on the case Sinn Féin councillor Mary Clarke said that homes being rented and used for drug cultivation seemed to be something that was widespread across the country.
“We want to see further action by the PSNI in stopping this trade locally although we note there have been some successes,” she said.
“Those involved in the drug trade are exploiting those that are particularly vulnerable and should be held to account for their actions before the courts. The drug trade is an international problem but clearly in close communities like North Belfast people can be watchful for suspected drug houses which should be reported to police.”
“We must be particularly careful that no section of the local community are wrongly blamed for this trade or that it isn’t used as an excuse for any racist attacks if any minority is demonised for being wrongly associated with the drug trade.”

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