Gardaí swoop on 60 suspects in major drug dealing probe
Sixty people have been arrested as part of a major garda investigation into the sale and supply of heroin, cocaine and other drugs in the east and south of the country.
The raids followed a six- month surveillance operation co-ordinated by the recently established Drugs and Organised Crime Bureau.
Fifty residential properties were searched by more than 100 gardaí in Dublin, Cork and Wexford over 48 hours.
Gardaí said large amounts of heroin were seized, but the exact amount will not be known until analysis is carried out.
The suspects face more than 200 drug charges between them.
In Dublin, 26 men were arrested and are due before Dublin District Court this morning.
They include a notorious 28-year-old criminal with well over 70 previous convictions.
He was last year handed a suspended sentence for possession of heroin and cocaine for sale or supply after an earlier operation by drugs squad detectives. He was previously caught after selling drugs to undercover gardaí.
These searches and arrests were the second phase of Operation Tempest, which saw the arrest of 45 individuals in Dublin's north inner city last year.
In Cork, under the codename Operation Emerson, some 16 men and nine women were arrested. All of those arrested were in front of Cork District Court yesterday.
In Wexford, Operation Denver was the smallest part of the overall operation. It resulted in the arrest of two women and seven men, ranging from 22 to 61 years of age.
All of the people arrested in the operation were charged in connection with the sale or supply of heroin.
The suspects are due in court at Wexford District Court next week.
The Garda Drugs and Organised Crime Bureau was backed up by regional support units, detective units, dog units and local units in carrying out the arrests.
"The three operations were a significant success in combating the illegal drugs trade in this country," said Detective Chief Superintendent Michael O'Sullivan. "We thank those people who raised concerns regarding the sale of drugs in their local community.
"The scourge of drugs in local communities can only be combated with local community support."
Operations Tempest, Emerson and Denver were carried out in Dublin, Cork and Wexford respectively over the past six months.
The operations involved large amounts of covert and overt surveillance of street, mid-level and high-level heroin dealers, gardaí added.