Cannabis and heroin seizures a 'big blow to drug gangs'
GARDAÍ AND Customs believe they may have smashed a major drugs ring following the seizure of millions of euro worth of cannabis and heroin in two raids.
The recovery of more than a tonne of cannabis resin from a van and an industrial premises in Dunboyne and 15kg of heroin worth €2 million from a house in the Robertstown area of Co Kildare were the seventh major drug seizure in the last fortnight.
The recent seizures were joint operations by the organised crime unit and the Garda National Drugs Unit and involved the targeting of separate criminal gangs. Customs officials were also involved in several surveillance operations.
In total, gardaí have recovered nearly €20 million worth of drugs of which nearly three-quarters is cannabis in the past two weeks.
A seizure of €8 million worth of herbal cannabis in a consignment from Amsterdam, €2 million worth of the drug from a house in Co Wicklow and €400,000 worth from a premises in the Airside Business Park in Swords amounts to one of the most successful months ever against drug smugglers in this country.
The finds are significant enough for gardaí to believe that they will have a serious impact on the availability of cannabis in the country where there has been a glut recently and the price has halved from a peak of €12,000 per kilo.
On Thursday night a joint Garda and Customs operation resulted in the discovery of 1.1 tonnes of cannabis resin in a van that left from van from Dublin Port. They stopped the driver, a 31-year-old man, and recovered 200 kilos of cannabis.
They then went to an industrial premises in Dunboyne used by the man and seized a further 900kg of the drug. The man, who is from west Dublin, was arrested and was still being detained last night at Blanchardstown Garda station.
In total, six people remain in custody following the two raids. Four people were arrested in Co Kildare and one in a follow-up search. They are from the Tallaght and Clondalkin areas.
One of those arrested was a major drug dealer based in Spain who was in Ireland solely to receive the cannabis shipment which came in on a container from the south of Spain.
“The millions of euro worth of seizures over the last number of weeks are as a result of an ongoing strategy between the Garda Síochána, the Customs’ unit and the organised crime unit targeting organised criminal gangs across the country,” said Det Sgt Michael Sullivan who is heading the investigation.
Customs spokesman Seán Brosnan said they tipped gardaí off about the suspicious cannabis shipment which was seized on Thursday through its risk-profiling strategy. The drugs came in on a container from Spain and were concealed under a consignment of detergents and fabric cleansers. Spain is a noted source country for cannabis.
Last week gardaí seized €8 million worth of herbal cannabis in a consignment from Amsterdam and cocaine with a street value of around €3 million followed monitoring by the Customs service.
“This is a concerted effort,” Mr Brosnan said. “By volume alone these seizures will constitute a huge problem for these gangs. The investigations are continuing both nationally and internationally.”
The raids were praised by the Minister of State with responsibility for the national drugs strategy, John Curran.
Mr Curran said: “Every week the gardaí are making significant impacts into criminal activity that involves drug trafficking and serious gangland crimes.”
Gardaí say the operation into the drug smuggling is ongoing.
Saturday, September 19, 2009