Latest: 13 men from three countries held in Kinahan cartel operation; Two men to appear in court tomorrow

Update 10pm: Gardai have confirmed that two men in their 30s are due to appear at a sitting of Trim District Court tomorrow at 9am charged in relation to the €5m worth of drug seizures in Ashbourne yesterday.

The seizures were made as part of an international operation tackling traffickers and organised crime gangs linked to the Kinahan cartel.

Update: 9.08pm: Dutch police have said that the eight people arrested in the Netherlands include two men from Limerick and one from Dublin.

The rest comprise of four Dutch men and one Belgian.

Officers in the Netherlands seized 175kg of cocaine, cannabis, vacuum-packed cash, computers, encrypted phones and bitcoin.

The Garda's Assistant Commissioner in charge of special operations, John O'Driscoll, who is liaising with Dutch police in the Netherlands said that there were 13 bolts on a heavy metal door of one of the apartments raided.

Speaking from the Europol headquarters in the Netherlands, he said the operation has a strong international dimension.

He said: "We have been liaising with a number of law enforcement agencies. There is a realisation across a number of member states in Europe that when we combine our information we can have a greater impact on these crime gangs."

The scene of yesterday's Garda raid in Ashbourne.

6.35pm: Gardaí have said the Dublin end of the operation netted almost €400,000 worth of heroin, cocaine and cash.

During a search at a house at Kilmainham Bank, Dublin 8, officers seized heroin with a street value of €25,000, €6,000 in cash and three imitation firearms. A man in his 50s was arrested and detained under Section 2 of the Drug Trafficking Act at Kilmainham Garda Station.

In another search at Basin Street, Dublin 8, around €1,000 worth of heroin was found and a man in his 40s was arrested and detained under Section 4 of the Criminal Justice Act at Kilmainham Garda Station.

Another man was arrested on foot of existing bench warrants at an address in McCarthy Terrace, Dublin 8, and he has been brought to court and remanded in custody.

This bring to thirteen the number of people who have been arrested in Dublin, Meath and the Netherlands as part of the international investigation.

During another search at Berry’s Close, Inchicore, Dublin 8, a number of packages wrapped in plastic were seized. They said they held 3.5kgs of a "powder like substance" which they believe is heroin and cocaine. They have been valued at €350,000.

A car has also been seized for technical examination.

Update: 3.36pm: At least 10 people have been arrested in Ireland and the Netherlands after a €7m haul of cannabis and cocaine was seized.

The drugs were recovered when industrial units near Ashbourne, Co Meath were raided yesterday by specialist garda units tackling traffickers and organised crime gangs linked to the Kinahan cartel.

Two men in their 30s were arrested at the scene, gardaí said.

In Amsterdam a series of searches were carried out by Dutch police and five people were detained.

Some of the drugs seized in Co. Meath yesterday.

And in subsequent raids in Dublin's south inner city under Operation Thistle, which targets the Kinahan network on the ground, another three people were arrested.

A quantity of drugs, believed to be heroin, was seized in the city along with a number of weapons and suspected replica firearms, gardai said.

Several thousand euro in cash was also recovered.

Some of the drugs seized in Co. Meath yesterday.

Assistant Commissioner John O' Driscoll, who is in The Hague for meetings with Dutch counterparts and others at Europol, said a number of organised crime gangs in a number of countries may be linked to the wider operation.

"The Garda National Drugs and Organised Crime Bureau has brought to fruition an operation targeting drug trafficking, which has an international dimension," he said.

"This has resulted in a significant seizure of cannabis herb and cocaine and the arrest of a number of suspects.

"Action in this jurisdiction has been co-ordinated with action being undertaken by international law enforcement authorities."

An exact value has not been put on the massive haul of drugs seized in Ireland but it has been estimated to run to several million euro.

Some of the drugs seized in Co. Meath yesterday.

Update: 1.46pm: A number of arrests have been made in the Netherlands as gardaí work with Dutch Police in a targeted operation which saw two men arrested in County Meath yesterday.

Assistant Commissioner John O'Driscoll has said that there will be a briefing this afternoon with members of the Dutch Police.

Yesterday, two men aged 31 and 37 were been arrested under Section 2 of the Criminal Justice Act, meaning they can be held for up to seven days.

The Assistant Commissioner has said the search of a lock-up facility in the Ward in Ashbourne is ongoing.

Update 10.18am: The Minister for Justice and Equality, Charlie Flanagan TD has congratulated An Garda Síochána on the success of the international operation that led to the large seizure of drugs yesterday.

The Minister said: "The illicit drugs trade is a highly destructive international business and I am pleased to see An Garda Sìochána continuing to partner effectively with law enforcement in other jurisdictions.

"This seizure is very significant and results from a great deal of painstaking work. I want to congratulate all those involved for their professionalism and dedication to duty.

"The effective policing operation will prevent these drugs from reaching the streets and harming individuals, families and communities."

Update 8.08am: Drugs worth between €2m and €5m have been seized in Ashbourne, Co Meath.

Two men in their 30s were also arrested by gardaí in a planned operation targeting organised crime.

It is understood the sting was targeting the Kinahan crime gang, and further arrests are expected in the Netherlands later.

In a planned operation yesterday afternoon, gardaí searched two industrial units in Ashbourne, Co. Meath and discovered vast quantities of cocaine and cannabis herb.

While not all of the drugs have been assessed, sources say they’re worth between €2m and €5m.

Two men aged 31 and 37 were arrested at the scene and are being held in Ashbourne Garda station.

The men, who are from Dublin, are being held under section 2 of the Criminal Justice Act - meaning they can be held for up to seven days.

Speaking from the Netherlands, Assistant Commissioner John O’Driscoll said the significant operation was coordinated with international law enforcement colleagues.

Searches of the two scenes will resume this morning, and further arrests are likely, possibly in the Netherlands.

Assistant Commissioner O'Driscoll is meeting Dutch law enforcement personnel and law enforcement personnel from other jurisdictions in the Netherlands today.


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