Gardaí have dealt a blow to a drug-dealing gang supplying highly dangerous chemicals.
The six-week covert operation targeted the sale of MDVP and PVP, two similar synthetic stimulants, at St Mary’s Mansions flats complex in Dublin’s north inner city.
Gardaí arrested seven “key suppliers” of the gang, including five young adults, aged 18 to 23 and two juveniles, aged 16 and 17.
As part of their operation, code-named Hesitate, gardaí seized 0.5kgs of PVP in one location, with an estimated street value of 17,000.
Chief Superintendent Pat Leahy, who led the investigation, said they had not seized the drug in the division before.
PVP is a synthetic drug, similar to MDPV. The latter drug was formerly sold in head shops as a legal high, before the trade effectively shut down following legislative changes in 2010.
However, the trade moved online and into the illegal market. Shipments of both drugs have been seized in Ireland before. In 2013, 41kgs of PVP was seized, worth 1.4m.
The previous year, 19kgs of the drug was found - in a postal shipment from China to Waterford - with a street value of 676,000. Yesterday’s arrests were prompted by concerns raised by local residents and public representatives as part of a new community policing programme in the Dublin North Central Division.
Chief Supt Leahy said the undercover operation had been ongoing for six weeks, during which the open dealing at the flats received coverage by reporter Brian O’Connell on the Sean O’Rourke Show.
Chief Leahy said community sergeants, in consultation with undercover officers from the Garda National Drugs Unit, led the operation and arrests.
He said they identified eight “key targets”, seven of whom were arrested. Searches are ongoing.
Tony Duffin, director of local drugs agency Ana Liffey said they worked closely with local gardaí.
“We recognise the vital role that law enforcement plays in supporting communities affected by drug dealing and use,” he said.
He added seizures had a limited impact on problem drug use and that to support the garda operations, there was a need for speedy access to low-threshold crisis residential units and medically-supervised injecting centres.
The EU drugs agency expressed particular concern earlier this year about four new chemicals - including MDVP - describing them as “potentially very dangerous in terms of toxicity”.
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