Revenue’s Customs Service officers, monitoring the illegal importation of cigarettes, hit an “ecstasy jackpot” when they tracked the contraband to a house in Cork city.
The operation started when customs officers discovered 8,000 illegal cigarettes at the mail centre in Portlaoise, Co Laois.
They then mounted “a controlled” delivery of the cigarettes to an address in the Pouladuff Road area on the southside of the city yesterday morning.
To the surprise of Custom’s Revenue Service officers, when they went into the house they found more than the 8,000 cigarettes they had been tracking. They found 40,000 ecstasy tablets with a street value of approximately €400,000 and a small cannabis-growing operation.
Gardaí were called to the scene and arrested a Chinese man and woman, both in their early 30s.
They were taken to the Bridewell Garda Station where they were being detained under drug trafficking legislation.
It is understood they can be held for up to five days before being charged or released.
The 8,000 Eight brand cigarettes, which originated in China, had a retail value of approximately €3,100 and represented a potential tax loss to the Exchequer of €2,724.
According to senior Garda sources the Chinese were not known to them.
“It’s certainly the biggest seizure of ecstasy we have had in Cork in quite some time. There doesn’t seem to be any major increase in its use on the streets, though. There has always been a steady market for ecstasy, especially among younger people,” a senior Garda source said.
He said gardaí would now be carrying out a thorough check on the backgrounds of the two arrested. “We will be checking mobile phone records, any bank accounts they have and looking at who they may be connected to. We will basically be forensically examining everything we can.”
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