Gardaí have raided an ecstasy "pill factory" linked to the deadly Kinahan cartel after raiding a garden shed.
Armed detectives swooped on the property in Co Kildare yesterday morning as part of their ongoing operation against the Kinahan gang.
During the search of the house in the Priory area of St Raphael's Manor, Celbridge, around 9kg of MDMA in powder and pill form was recovered.
Other drug-making paraphernalia, including chemicals, weighing scales, a tablet pressing machine and protective clothing were discovered in the shed in the back garden of the house.
The estimated street value of the drug seized is in the region of €500,000, and was being used to create ecstasy tablets.
Three men, who are all Polish nationals, were also arrested as part of the operation and were last night being quizzed by detectives from the Garda National Drugs and Organised Crime Bureau (DOCB), who led the investigation.
Two of the men caught in the shed were being held at Leixlip garda station.
A third man was also arrested at the property and was being quizzed by detectives at Lucan garda station.Searched
They are all aged in their mid-30s and early 40s, and at least one of the men had been living at the house which was searched.
Detectives believe the drug-making factory is linked to the Kinahan cartel, and yesterday's operation had been ongoing for some time ahead of the raid. It is understood that the €500,000 of MDMA had only arrived at the property a day before the raid.
A source told the Irish Independent that a "pill factory" was being operated from the shed of the house, and that the operation was a successful seizure for gardaí.
"Between the large amount of powder that was found and the equipment recovered in the shed, gardaí believe that a significant pill factory was being run from the property.
"It's a good result for the DOCB, because as well as the drugs that were seized, they have effectively prevented more drugs being created from the shed," the source said.
"Early indications are that the drug factory is linked to the Kinahan cartel, and this is another massive strike for gardaí against this international crime group," the source added.
The protective clothing recovered included gloves, masks and forensic suits.
The three men arrested were being held under Section 2 of the Drug Trafficking Act.
A Garda spokesperson said that the detained men were residents in Ireland but had previously lived in Eastern Europe.
"Gardaí state that the process of making tablets had commenced when they forced entry into the premises," the spokesperson said.
Speaking after the raid, Assistant Commissioner John O'Driscoll, who is in charge of Special Crime Operations, said: "This operation provides further evidence of the extent of links between Irish-based organised crime groups and the international drug trade.
"The Garda National Drugs and Organised Crime Bureau has today dealt another blow to those involved in organised crime. Our effort in tackling organised crime is unrelenting and will continue as long as is necessary".
Gardaí have had a number of successes against the Kinahan cartel in Co Kildare over the last number of months.
The Kinahan cartel is involved in a deadly feud with the Hutch gang which has so far claimed up to 18 lives. More than 50 lives have been saved after operations conducted by gardaí.