Tuesday 23 January 2018

'Hunt for informant who slipped up' as consortium of city gangs in €40m bust

'Search for informant or what caused slip-up' after two tonnes of cannabis herb is seized

Haul: Armed gardai protect an estimated €40m worth of marijuana which was seized by Customs and gardai at Dublin Port
Haul: Armed gardai protect an estimated €40m worth of marijuana which was seized by Customs and gardai at Dublin Port
Jim Cusack

Jim Cusack

A consortium of Irish drug gangs have lost their €4m- €5m investment due to the Garda and Customs' massive seizure of marijuana in Dublin Port, senior sources have said.

It is believed the gangs chipped in together to buy the near-two-tonne haul, which has an estimated street value of nearly €40m.

Ireland's marijuana prices are among the highest in the world, which gardai have attributed to large seizures but also to the monopoly control of the supply by the big Irish cartels based in Spain and Holland.

Gardai and Customs sources were tight-lipped about the suspected source and network involved in shipping the 1.87 tonnes of marijuana buds packed in vacuum packs and sealed in metal boxes hidden inside wooden crates.

The consignment was found in a container landed in Dublin Port but no details have been given about how it was shipped to Ireland or the country of origin.

Revenue Commissioner Liam Irwin pointed out yesterday that 10,000 containers transit Dublin docks daily and finding the marijuana was like a "needle in a haystack". He added that the single haul was larger than the combined seizures of drugs by Customs for 2015 and 2016.

Read more: 'More than entire cannabis seizures for 2015 and 2016' - Massive €37.5m Kinahan drugs haul pictured

Garda Assistant Commissioner John O'Driscoll described the seizure as a "huge achievement", and added, "organised criminals will be impacted".

Sources told the Sunday Independent the seizure will have the biggest impact on the consortium of small gangs who put together the money to buy the shipment.

They are at a major loss and, inevitably in these situations, a hunt will be on for an informant or someone who slipped up allowing the shipment to be intercepted.

A government report on the illicit drug market in Ireland by the National Advisory Council on Drugs and Alcohol in 2015 highlighted how garda drugs seizures are one of the main causes of serious violence in the criminal drugs industry over debts.

Ireland has probably the toughest drug laws in the EU, with a mandatory 10-year jail term for possessing €13,000 of the drug, which at current prices is just over half a kilo.

Sunday Independent

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