GARDAÍ have smashed a major heroin supply network involving a family-run operation in the south east.
Officers suspect a drug trafficking crew from Dublin – linked to one of the Drimnagh-Crumlin feuding gangs – supplied two heroin dealing outfits in Carlow town.
A total of 11 people were arrested in Carlow yesterday morning following an intensive eight-month operation, involving surveillance, test-purchasing and infiltrating of gangs by undercover drug officers.
Garda sources said the main outfit hit in Carlow is a family-run business led by a father, aged in his 60s, and four of his sons.
The operation, code-named Radar, was conducted by the South Eastern Regional Drugs Unit and the Garda National Drugs Unit (GNDU).
“This operation started eight months ago and targeted the supply of heroin. Carlow is the main supply point for the entire region,” said a garda source.
Heroin use has spread rapidly in recent years from Carlow, which has had a heroin problem for some ten years, to Wexford, Waterford, Kilkenny and parts of Tipperary.
HSE figures show almost 300 heroin addicts sought treatment in the South East in 2008, compared to 49 in 2000.
“Carlow has the highest concentration in the region and addicts from Waterford, Wexford and Clonmel either come to Carlow or Dublin to get heroin,” said the garda source.
Gardaí have seen a number of serious Dublin criminals moving to the town and building up relationships with local criminal families.
The Garda divisional drug unit in Carlow/Kilkenny, backed up by sister units drew up a list of the main heroin sellers and built up individual profiles, from street dealers up.
A special team from the GNDU, whose faces were not known in Carlow, began the long process of infiltrating the drug gangs.
Gardaí identified a total of 30 offences, namely test purchases. A team of 80 officers yesterday morning searched 42 houses and premises and arrested 11 people.
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