Local drug gang behind major haul of cocaine

Detectives investigating a major cocaine and ecstasy seizure in Co Louth believe a local drug trafficking gang is involved.

They believe that four people arrested in relation to the haul, three of them Eastern Europeans, are just “workers” for a local gang.

The size of the haul has been the subject of some confusion, with some sources initially placing the value at around €3.5m, most of it said to be cocaine. This would have suggested that some 45kg-50kg of cocaine was seized.

However, gardaí have downgraded the size of the consignment, in part due to suspicions that much of the powder was not cocaine, but may be a mixing agent to dilute the cocaine.

Sources have since confirmed that a minimum of 12kg of cocaine was found, but this could rise. A substantial quantity of mixing agents was found in the haul.

It is thought that the mixing agents were being stored inside Aldi supermarket bags. A quantity of ecstasy tablets was also found in the industrial unit.

Gardaí were yesterday afternoon still awaiting the results of forensic tests on a range of the items seized.

Local gardaí only made the discovery on Monday morning when they were called to fire at the unit in Mell, outside Drogheda, and searched a premises.

Sources believe that a local gang, based in the Dundalk and Ardee area, was behind the facility.

This outfit is thought to be supplying drugs across Louth, Meath, Wicklow, Kildare and beyond.

It has been hit a number of times, but only small quantities of drugs have been seized off them.

“This is quite a significant seizure,” said one source.

The gang is known to be using vulnerable people to take the hands-on risk of handling, storing and mixing drugs.

“They use people who are down on their luck,” said the source.

In one case recently, a 15-year-old boy was used to store three pipe bombs.

Gardaí yesterday continued to question the four men arrested, two of them Polish and a third Latvian, under Section 2 of the Drug Trafficking Act 1991.

Meanwhile, gardaí are continuing to question a man in relation to the discovery of a semi-automatic sawn-off shotgun and a stolen high-powered motorbike in west Dublin on Monday night.

As part of an ongoing investigation targeting serious criminal activity in the area, the Garda National Drugs and Organised Crime Bureau, assisted by the Special Crime Task Force, conducted a planned search of an address in Blanchardstown.

A 37-year-old man was arrested.

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