Major drug seizures since start of virus lockdown

Increased Covid-19 checkpoints allied to intelligence-led operations have resulted in gardaí seizing millions of euro in illegal drugs since the lockdown came into force on March 27.
Major drug seizures since start of virus lockdown

Increased Covid-19 checkpoints allied to intelligence-led operations have resulted in gardaí seizing millions of euro in illegal drugs since the lockdown came into force on March 27.

The latest seizure of an estimated €2.5m of cocaine resulted from an intelligence-led operation targeting an organised crime gang.

Gardaí from the Garda National Drugs and Organised Crime Bureau (GNDOCB) stopped and searched three vehicles in the Blakes Cross area of Co Dublin and seized €2.5m of cocaine last Saturday.

Three men, aged 44, 48, and 59, were arrested at the scene and detained under Section 2 of the Criminal Justice (Drug Trafficking) Act, 1996, at two Dublin garda stations.

Detective Chief Superintendent Angela Willis, head of GNDOCB, said gardaí were committed to disrupting the activities of organised criminals supplying drugs to communities.

The previous day, gardaí in Laois discovered €1.24m of cannabis hidden in a ditch on a secondary road on the Carlow/Laois border. No arrests have been made, but investigations are continuing.

On March 31, just days after the lockdown started, gardaí operating a Covid-19 checkpoint on the Cork-Dublin motorway, near Fermoy, Co Cork, found €70,000 of suspected heroin in the jacket of a driver who they arrested at the scene.

Just days later, in an unrelated operation, also in the Fermoy area, members of the Cork City Divisional Drugs Unit carried out a surveillance operation which led to the arrest of a man and seizure of €125,000 of cocaine which had been hidden in a wooded area.

On April 2, as part of investigations into the sale and supply of illegal drugs in Longford and Roscommon, a search of an apartment in Ballymahon, Co Longford, resulted in the seizure of €100,000 worth of cannabis, €70,000 of cocaine, and €30,000 of ecstasy tablets.

Gardaí in Portlaoise discovered €20,000 of cannabis on April 8 and arrested a man.

During a follow-up operation they seized a further €500,000 worth of cannabis, €35,000 worth of cocaine, and drug paraphernalia.

Approximately €500,000 worth of drugs and two firearms were seized during an incident which occurred on Essex Quay, Dublin 2, on April 14.

It came after a vehicle sped away from a Covid-19 checkpoint. The drugs were found in the car when it was eventually stopped.

The handguns were thrown into a river prior to that, but later recovered by the Garda Water Unit.

On April 16, as a result of an intelligence-led operation, gardaí discovered a growhouse with 250 cannabis plants during a search of a house on the outskirts of Killarney, Co Kerry.

Drug squad detectives, who assisted in mounting a Covid-19 checkpoint in the Kilteely area of Co Limerick on April 21, discovered €70,000 of cocaine in a car and arrested the man driving it.

In a follow-up operation they searched two premises in Co Limerick and found drugs worth an additional €160,000.

Assistant Commissioner John O’Driscoll, who heads Garda Special Crime Operations, said gardaí would continue to pursue those who engage in serious and organised crime and were intent on “dismantling” their operations.

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