Gardai arrest suspect of UK investigation into drugs trafficking
A man wanted by British police in connection with a massive drugs trafficking operation has been arrested by gardai in north Kildare.
Officers from the gardai's extradition section detained the suspect with back-up from the Garda National Drugs Unit.
The suspect is understood to have been living in Straffan for more than 15 years and has been under investigation by the British Serious and Organised Crime Agency (SOCA) for several years.
The 55-year-old man will be brought before the High Court in Dublin this morning to face four charges concerning the importation of cocaine and cannabis into the UK, and also money laundering. The arrest was made yesterday evening after British officers secured an extradition warrant.
He was taken into custody at Leixlip garda station, where he was being held overnight.
English police officers allege that the suspect is the mastermind behind a gang bringing large shipments of cocaine and cannabis into the UK.
Gardai believe shipments were also brought in here.
Detectives from the National Drugs Unit are carrying out further inquiries and are to interview a number of people who had completed business deals with the suspect since he settled in this country.
Some members of the UK-based gang have already been convicted by the courts.
Last January, Paul Yearsley was sentenced to five years' imprisonment after he was caught during the handover of a haul of 120kg of cannabis.
The court heard that he had no means of income, apart from a disability pension, but owned a £4m luxury home, which had featured in a glossy lifestyle magazine. He also owned a villa on the Costa del Sol, a new Range Rover and a Bentley Continental.
Yearsley's house in Bolton had marble floors, a home cinema and a swimming pool. He claimed he had made his money from selling cars and properties to professional footballers.
But SOCA were not convinced and began an investigation into his wealth in 2008, culminating in his arrest.