Gardaí have seized cannabis plants worth up to €800,000 and arrested four men at a former factory in East Cork.
Gardaí on routine patrol were informed of suspicious activity at the former Artesyn Technologies factory at Springfield, Youghal, which closed in 2003 with the loss of 160 jobs.
Shortly after 10pm on Monday, gardaí found a sophisticated cannabis “grow house” operation within the disused factory.
Garda sources indicated up to 2,000 plants were being nurtured in the building which they immediately sealed off for technical examination.
Gardaí also uncovered cultivating equipment at the scene, including sophisticated lighting, heating and watering equipment.
Four Chinese men were arrested at the scene.
One of them is understood to have a connection with the East Cork area, but the others are not living there.
Two of the arrested are in their 30s and the other two are in their 20s.
They were being detained in Cobh and Midleton garda stations yesterday. They were being questioned under Section 2 of the Drugs Trafficking Act.
Under the legislation, they can be held and questioned without charge for up to seven days.
It is believed the cultivation operation only got under way recently as the plants were not in a mature state.
Gardaí will take samples of the plants, which they will send to Garda headquarters in Dublin for technical examination.
The remainder of the plants will be destroyed.
It is the biggest seizure of a grow house in Co Cork.
There have been a number of smaller seizures in recent times, especially in West Cork.
Last Wednesday, firefighters tackling a blaze in a terraced property in Skibbereen discovered a cannabis grow house inside. It was believed the plants’ heaters had malfunctioned and caused the fire.
Gardaí recovered 590 plants with a street value of over €200,000. A Garda spokesman said they were still trying to locate the person who had been using the premises.
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