Drug trafficking is borderless - so it's time for the Gardaí to have boots back in Spain
Enterprising Irish criminals were first lured into mainland Europe by a potential tenfold increase in profits from drug deals, thus eliminating the middleman.
Over the previous decade, the gangsters had carefully built up valuable networks of contacts in European countries such as Spain, the Netherlands and Belgium. Through these, they had gained access to global underworld figures in South America.
But they had to pay a hefty price to their contacts for that access - and they quickly realised they had to be closer to the action if they wanted to become major players.