A FORMER British soldier remains in garda custody in Tralee following the discovery of €280,000 worth of cocaine in his luggage at Kerry Airport on Thursday afternoon.
The seizure, the largest of its kind ever made at Kerry Airport and one of the largest drug seizures ever in Kerry, was described as "very significant" by customs officers and Gardaí.
On Monday afternoon Officers from the Customs and Excise Unit of the Revenue Commissioners in Kerry detained a passenger who had arrived into Kerry Airport at Farranfore on the 1.55pm Ryanair Flight from Frankfurt Hahn Airport in Germany.
The man, a Briton in his late sixties who lives in County Cork, was stopped on arrival and had his luggage searched by customs officers.
An examination of his rucksack uncovered four kilograms of cocaine, with an estimated street value of €280,000, that had been stitched into the lining of the bag.
Revenue and customs said the seizure was the result of the standard random risk profiling of passengers.
Following the discovery he was arrested under section two of the Criminal Justice Drug Trafficking Act and taken to Tralee Garda Station where he remains in custody and is still undergoing questioning by detectives from the Kerry Divisional Drugs Unit. The seized drugs were sent to the Garda Forensic Laboratory in Dublin early on Tuesday morning.
Meanwhile gardaí in Cork, working in tandem with gardai in Kerry, carried out a follow up search of the man's Cork home but no further drugs were found.
It's understood that the arrested man has lived in county Cork for some time and was previously a member of the British armed forces with whom he had served in Germany.
As The Kerryman went to press on Tuesday evening no formal charges had been filed against the man who can be held be held for another four days before he must be either charged or released.
Monday's find was the largest such seizure ever made at Kerry Airport and was described as "significant" in the context of other seizures made at Irish Airports by Kerry Revenue Commissioners Customs and Excise section head Richard Cantillon.