Haulier held after gardai seize drugs valued at over €4m
AN international haulier is being questioned by gardai about the biggest heroin seizure in the State in the past five years.
Detectives from the garda national drugs unit seized 27kg of heroin when they stopped an articulated truck on the M1 motorway at Drogheda, Co Louth.
An initial street value of €4.05m has been placed on the shipment. But officers think the value will rise substantially when the heroin has been analysed.
Officers said the purity level of the shipment meant the heroin could have been cut three or four times before it was sold on the streets and this would have pushed up its value significantly to the traffickers.
The haulier is one of three suspects arrested by the specialist garda unit. He is well known to gardai and has already served a lengthy prison sentence after being caught in the past with a major drugs haul.
But officers think he was also involved in bringing several other shipments into the State over more than a decade. The man has also been investigated in the past by the garda national fraud bureau.
The seizure was carried out with the help of the detective unit in Drogheda on Thursday evening following a lengthy intelligence-led operation that involved several other agencies.
The head of the garda national drugs unit, Det Chief Supt John O'Driscoll, said the capture of such a heroin haul would have a big impact on the streets and was a result of co-operation between the national unit and local garda resources.
Following the seizure, gardai were now investigating the involvement of organised crime gangs in importing the shipment.
Officers arrested a man and a woman at the scene of the interception and detained a second man in a follow-up search.
The three were questioned throughout yesterday at Coolock, Dublin, and Drogheda garda stations under drug-trafficking legislation, which allows them to hold the suspects without charge for up to seven days.
In an unrelated operation, officers from the national unit, backed up by detectives from Dundrum in south Dublin, searched a house at Stillorgan Road, Donnybrook, on Thursday night and seized 32kg of cocaine with an estimated street value of €2.24m.
Det Chief Supt O'Driscoll said this was the biggest cocaine haul in the State since 2012.
Armed officers arrested two Colombian suspects at the scene and they were taken to Blackrock station for questioning about the find.
Meanwhile, Customs officers yesterday seized 2.7kg of heroin, 1.1kg of ecstasy, almost 1kg of cannabis resin and 0.2kg of LSD tablets, with an estimated street value of €534,280 concealed in the fuel tank of a vehicle at Rosslare Europort in Co Wexford.
Two men in the vehicle, a 40-year-old Scottish national and a 34-year-old Irish man were arrested.
The find brought the value of drugs seized in less than 24 hours in the State to more than €6.8m.