A CASH haul of €1.25m was still drying out in a garda station last night after it was seized from a criminal who dug it up in a boggy field.
Gardai in Limerick were continuing to dry and clean the thousands of notes which they recovered on Saturday.
A 53-year-old criminal from Limerick was brought to Henry Street garda station in the city.
He was questioned for two days after he was caught digging up the cash from a field at Portcrusha, Castleconnell, Co Limerick. When arrested, he was in a nearby container attempting to dry and count the cash with a tumble dryer.
The cash had been wrapped in plastic, put into boxes and buried. But some of it had deteriorated before the criminal used a digger to retrieve it from six feet underground.
Despite being unearthed on Saturday, some of it was still wet last night and garda officers are having to peel the notes one by one from each other.
While officers are satisfied that the estimated sum amounts to €1.25m, they were still counting last night -- a third day of counting.
Gardai in Limerick have also been in touch with the Central Bank in a bid to determine how quickly they can dry the notes.
The convicted drug dealer was released without charge last night. Another man, aged in his 40s, who was also arrested at the scene, was previously released.
The 53-year-old criminal served a six-year-sentence after he was caught transporting 14kg of cannabis in Limerick in 2000.
He had managed to keep a low profile on his release until recent months when gardai began surveillance.
The cash seizure came following a major surveillance operation on the Limerick criminal by officers from Henry Street garda station under the supervision of Chief Supt David Sheahan.
The operation had been ongoing for weeks.
Gardai are now focusing their inquiries on the origins of the €1.25m and how long it had been buried in the field.
It has not been established how long the cash -- in various denominations -- had been stored there. The field where it was found is said to be extremely boggy.
It is just a few hundred yards from the banks of the River Shannon, downstream from Lough Derg and to the north-east of Limerick city.
The land is frequently waterlogged due to its proximity to the river and in recent years it has been subjected to extreme flooding.