Squad catches garda with cocaine

THE Garda’s top gangland squad will examine the phone records and bank accounts of a garda caught with hundreds of euro worth of cocaine.

The garda was arrested on Monday morning on Chancery Street, in Dublin’s north inner city, in the company of a “low-level” drug dealer, who was also arrested.

The Organised Crime Unit (OCU) will conduct a detailed investigation into the background of the garda in a bid to determine whether or not he was passing on information to drug gangs.

As well as phone histories and bank records, gardaí will also examine his use of the Garda Pulse computer system and all his arrests to date.

Senior Garda sources said they were concerned at both the amount of cocaine he was caught with — 8 gramme — and “associates” he has been linked with.

His arrest was the culmination of work by the National Bureau of Criminal Investigation (NBCI).

The garda is stationed in south west Dublin, where some of the country’s biggest, and most violent, drug gangs are based.

Gardaí are very conscious of other recent cases, including in Finglas, north Dublin, where an officer was arrested on suspicion of passing information to a local drug boss.

“Gardaí have been looking at this man for the last few months because of his drug habit and associations with people in the drugs trade,” said one senior source.

He said the garda had been caught with 8g of cocaine, which he said was “more than enough” for personal use. Depending on street prices for a gramme of cocaine, at between €80 and €100, the quantity would have a total value of €560 to €800.

The NBCI detained him under Section 2 of the Drug Trafficking Act 1996 on suspicion of selling or supplying drugs under Section 15 of the Misuse of Drugs Act 1977.

If he was being held for possession only it would be under Section 3 of the Misuse of Drugs Act. He can be detained for up to seven days. It is possible the 8g were for him and friends, and that he was not commercially selling drugs, but that is considered to be sale or supply.

“The OCU are looking at his associations with other people in case he was compromised,” said the Garda source. “Part of the line of investigation is, has he been giving information about Garda activities.”

Those who know the garda say he was “active enough” as a garda and had “a good few captures”, meaning arrests or seizures.

But sources said these successes are now “tainted” and that all arrests and seizures he was involved in will have to be investigated.

A second Garda source said the force took this issue seriously: “Anybody who engages in illegal activity, and that includes guards, will be subject to investigation and will be pursued.

“It can bring the force into disrepute. It could also compromise the force. It could involve more than him. Drugs invariably involve money and debt.”



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