Gardaí suspect that a major haul of cannabis herb – 98kgs in weight – confiscated in west Dublin was about to be driven across the border.
The consignment, with a combined estimated street value of around €1.96m, had arrived into the country already bagged and ready to be further distributed.
Three individuals were arrested when Revenue officers, backed up by the Garda National Drugs and Organised Crime Bureau, swooped on an industrial unit in Clondalkin.
It is understood that the shipment had just come into the country and was immediately taken to the industrial unit.
Based on intelligence, Revenue Customs had an operation in place. They were assisted by the Garda Security and Intelligence Section, which involved keeping the transport under observation.
The operation also involved the cross-border Joint Agency Task Force and the PSNI was briefed.
After the delivery to the industrial unit a decision was made to intervene.
“The consignment had been delivered and was being moved very quickly,” said one source, “and a decision was made to intercept it”.
When the team moved in, two crates containing the bagged cannabis were being transferred into a van, which gardaí believe was about to be driven across the border by a Northern Irish man.
Gardaí believe two individuals had the job at the facility to receive the goods and transfer them to the van. One of them is an Irish citizen, with a Middle Eastern or North African background.
The three men, aged 57, 49 and 32, were detained under Section 2 of The Criminal Justice ( Drugs Trafficking) Act 1996 at Clondalkin and Ballyfermot Garda Stations.
Gardaí indicated the three arrested were not known to them.
In a follow-up search, the PSNI arrested a female, aged 45, in Ballynahinch, Co Down and seized around €20,000 worth of cocaine.
PSNI Detective Sergeant Johnston said: “Acting on information provided by colleagues in An Garda Síochána who had detained a number of individuals and seized a large quantity of herbal cannabis in Dublin, PSNI officers carried out a search under the Misuse of Drugs Act at an address in Riverside Meadows shortly after midnight.
“Operations like this one demonstrates the efficacy of cross-border co-operation between PSNI and An Garda Síochana and how such close liaison between the agencies of the Joint Agency Taskforce can help law enforcement in both jurisdictions identify criminality, make arrests and ultimately place individuals before the courts.”
JATF was established under the Fresh Start Agreement and comprises the PSNI, An Garda Síochána, HM Revenue & Customs, the Revenue Commissioners, The Home Office Immigration Enforcement, the Criminal Assets Bureau, and the National Crime Agency.