GARDAI in North Cork have claimed a significant victory in the battle against drugs, following the seizure of cannabis plants with an estimated value of €640,000 at a warehouse in Rathcormac.
The seizure is believed to be one of the largest of its kind ever in the North Cork area.
Members of the National Drugs Unit, supported by Drugs Squad Detectives from Fermoy and Anglesea Street and the armed Rapid Response Unit raided the warehouse in Mondaniel at approximately 4pm on Monday afternoon.
Officers seized up to 800 cannabis plants in various stages of growth in the warehouse as well as cultivation equipment including lights, fans and heaters worth thousands of euros.
Five Chinese males in their 20s and 30s were arrested and detained under section 2 of the Criminal Justice (Drug Trafficking) Act 1996 at Fermoy, Midleton and Cobh garda stations. They can be held for up to seven days.
The scene was sealed off following the raid as gardai undertook a detailed technical examination of the scene. The plants, each of which has an estimated street value on €800 on maturity, will be sent to the garda technical bureau in Dublin for analysis.
A garda spokesman described the grow house as being a highly sophisticated operation.
"This was part of an ongoing operation to tackle the cultivation, distribution and supply of cannabis and other controlled substances in the Munster region," said the spokesman.
"This particular raid came about following a surveillance led operation and the suspects had been under observation for a period of time," he added.