Drug factory made 7,000 pills per hour

A busted “backyard” drug factory linked to the Kinahan crime cartel was capable of producing up to 7,000 ecstasy pills every hour, gardaí believe.

The pill-making machine seized in 'backyard' drug factory raid.

When Garda gang units raided the suburban semi-detached house they found a man clad in Breaking Bad-type gear.

Gardaí seized an automatic press pill-making machine and enough MDMA (pure ecstasy) powder to manufacture around 40,000 tablets, with a street valuation in the region of €200,000. While ecstasy manufacturing plants have been found before in Ireland, they are unusual.

They also recovered two kilogrammes of heroin, estimated street value €280,000, and around one kilo of cocaine, worth around €70,000.

The find is the latest in a series of successful Garda operations against the Kinahan cartel.

The Garda Drugs and Organised Crime Bureau (DOCN) together with its sister unit the Special Crime Task Force searched a house in St Raphael’s Manor, Celbridge, Co Kildare on Sunday afternoon.

The DOCB believe the house, which was being rented, had only just been set up as a drugs factory.

They found an automatic single-punch tablet press pill making machine, which are sold online for up to €2,500, and can make between 4,000 and 7,000 tablets per hour.

An estimated 9kg of high purity MDMA powder was recovered, along with other mixing agents, which officers believe could make in the region 40,000 tablets.

The tablets being produced were yellow in colour with a smiley face embossed on them.

Three Polish men were arrested at the scene, including one wearing a forensic suit, gloves and goggles.

Sources said the man was like something out of Breaking Bad, the hit US series, but added that the facilities were not that sophisticated.

“This is a backyard laboratory with no hygienic considerations,” said one source, who pointed out that the tablets were being made on the floor of a room in the house.

Members of the DOCB are probing why Polish nationals were running the Kinahan-linked operation.

Sources said it could be because they had some experience in the manufacturing process. While ecstasy production is traditionally associated with the Netherlands and Belgium, manufacturing is also carried out in Eastern Europe and the Baltic States.

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