The 35-year-old man from Ballyfermot is described by gardaí as the main heroin dealer in his local west Dublin area for the last 10 years.
A woman, also 35, and understood to be the man’s wife, was arrested after follow-up searches and held for questioning.
He was arrested as officers seized at least 32kg of heroin, one of the biggest seizures of the drug in recent years. The haul is estimated to have a street value of about €6.4 million. The seizure and arrest was made in the Palmerstown area of west Dublin on Tuesday night following a large operation led by the Garda National Drugs Unit, assisted by specialist Garda units, including the Criminal Assets Bureau. “The guards have to be commended for their work,” said Ballyfermot councillor Vincent Jackson, who sits on the Ballyfermot and Clondalkin local drug task forces.
“All that misery has been taken out of circulation, all that pain that would have been inflicted on people. For every success like this there is less misery on the streets of Ballyfermot and Dublin,” he said.
Eddie D’Arcy, of Clondalkin and Ronanstown Youth Service, said: “It’s good to see the gardaí active and taking a fair amount of heroin out of circulation. It’s evidence of the huge amounts of heroin around. It’s a big coup for the Garda National Drugs Unit, particularly to take a major player out.”
But both men recognised even a haul as substantial as this would not affect the availability of heroin past the short term. An analysis by the Garda drugs unit following the seizure of 54kg of heroin in Clondalkin in October 2006 — the single biggest haul of heroin in the history of the State — found it had no effect on prices, availability or supply.
In Tuesday’s operation, gardaí approached a van driven by their target. He fled and dropped a number of packages. Gardaí arrested him and found more packages in his van. Officers said the consignment was divided into three 10kg lots, suggesting he was supplying them to three separate gangs in west Dublin.
In a follow-up search at his home in Lucan they arrested a woman. Both suspects are being detained at Clondalkin Garda Station.
In total they confiscated two cars and a BMW X5 4x4, which has a starting price of about €85,000.
Officers from the Criminal Assets Bureau froze two bank accounts linked to the man, which contains a total of about €60,000. Speaking yesterday, Detective Superintendent Patrick Byrne of the Garda drugs unit said: “This is a significant seizure in an intelligence-led targeted operation. We are happy to say that as well as being a victory for An Garda Síochána, we see this as a win for the community, that we have removed this amount of heroin from the street.”
Gardaí say there is a huge demand for heroin in Dublin and in parts of the country. About 128kg were seized in 2006 and a similar quantity last year.
This compares with an average haul of about 30kg in the previous three years.