€500k ecstasy haul suspect has string of previous convictions
The suspected leader of a gang, caught with the biggest haul of ecstasy tablets seized by gardai so far this year, is a hardened criminal.
The 37-year-old gangster has a number of previous convictions and was handed a lengthy jail sentence for conspiring to carry out a bank robbery.
Gardai arrested the suspect and three alleged associates after seizing 50,000 ecstasy tablets, with an estimated street value of more than €500,000, when armed detectives raided a premises at an industrial estate at Greenhills Road in Tallaght.
The swoop followed a lengthy investigation by members of the Garda National Drugs Unit into drug trafficking in south and west Dublin.
Following further inquiries this week and a surveillance operation, members of local garda drug units from Tallaght, Ronanstown and Crumlin were called in as back-up for a series of raids on suspect premises.
Gardai initially moved into a lock-up premises in Kimmage and detained two men.
Inside the lock-up, officers discovered an ecstasy tablet factory and took possession of pill-making machines as well as substantial quantities of chemicals and other components.
Two more men were then detained as gardai carried out five separate raids in the Tallaght and Clondalkin areas on Tuesday afternoon.
A woman in her late 20s was also arrested during a search in Clondalkin.
The five were questioned throughout yesterday at Sundrive Road, Kevin Street and Kilmainham stations under drug trafficking legislation. They can be held without charge for up to seven days.
Gardai said last night the seizure was a significant success in the fight against organised crime in the capital and was the largest ecstasy find in 2014.
The suspected gang leader, who has links to notorious mobster, Martin "The Viper" Foley, has also been connected in the past with another ecstasy tablet factory in Dublin.
Earlier this month, gardai from Kevin Street station smashed a heroin distribution racket in Dublin's south inner city and seized almost a kilo of the drug, with an estimated street value of €80,000 as well as €4,000 in cash.
The finds were made after raids on two flats and followed weeks of surveillance by the local drugs unit.