Five heroin gangs operating in Cork are mainly users

There are about five heroin gangs in Cork, but they are not very professional and are mainly users who sell the Class A drugs to feed their own habit, it has been claimed.

Five heroin gangs operating in Cork are mainly users

They usually smuggle heroin into the city by bus or train from Dublin and, in nearly all cases, hide an ounce in their bodies in an effort to prevent detection.

In a worrying trend, however, they are also purchasing benzo-type drugs over the internet, which when taken with heroin, can be a lethal cocktail.

Drugs Squad Detective Sergeant Seán McCarthy said an ounce of heroin could be purchased in Dublin for anywhere between €1,200 and €1,500.

The seller would commonly divide it up into 140 bags and make a profit on the transactions of around €2,300.

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“I guarantee you every single deal of heroin coming into Cork has been concealed in a body orifice,” he said.

Det Sgt McCarthy said there were just nine seizures of the drug in 2005, but this jumped to 77 the following year, which resulted in gardaí setting up a special anti-heroin unit to target the dealers. Last year, there were 127 seizures.

“The unit is targeting those involved in sale and supply, not the addicts who we identify as victims,” he said.

“We need to help the victims and I think that education is the key to that.”

He said that while one ounce was the standard smuggler’s choice, last St Patrick’s Day the drug squad made a significant seizure when stopping a vehicle on the M8 which was heading for Cork with heroin worth €40,000 on board.

The drugs squad has made 36 detections of heroin in the city so far this year and the average addict needs €500 a week to feed their habit.

“To get the money for that they are stealing from people or shops. When heroin came to Cork first they [addicts] were smoking it, now they’re injecting it,” said Det Sgt McCarthy.

He told the Joint Policing Committee public meeting in the Millennium Hall at City hall yesterday cannabis was still by far the biggest illegal drug on sale in the city.

He said cannabis accounted for about 77% of the city’s drugs market. Heroin amounted for 10%, cocaine 6%, ecstasy 2%, and the remainder was made up by a combination of other drugs.

Meanwhile, he said gardaí were concerned about the increase in benzo-type medication on the internet as if taken with heroin, which is quite common, can be a lethal combination.

He said customs officials were doing their best to stem that tide by trying to monitor what was coming into post office sorting areas.

“There have been 31 cases so far this year in Cork of suspected cases of importing Benzo-type medication for sale or supply,” Det Sgt McCarthy said.

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