'No white Christmas' - Four held as €3.6m drugs seized
Specialist detectives were last night examining whether two of the country’s most prolific drugs gangs have joined forces after the seizure of €2.8m worth of cocaine and €800,000 of cannabis in separate but linked busts on Thursday night.
The drugs were planned to be distributed for the lucrative Christmas-time market but have been taken off the streets by a massive intelligence-led operation by the Drugs and Organised Crime Bureau (DOCB).
Ironically both of the targeted gangs have a base in Co Meath but are heavily connected to the north Dublin gangland scene and are involved in separate nationwide drugs trafficking enterprises.
“It won’t be a white Christmas for a few fellas now,” a source said last night, referring to the massive cocaine bust – one of the biggest of the year.
The DOCB seized 35kg of cocaine worth €2.8m when it intercepted a handover of the drugs between two cars in a car park in Liffey Valley at around 7.10pm on Thursday.
The drugs were being moved from a Dutch-registered car to an Irish-registered car.
Three men and one woman were arrested at the scene.
One of the men arrested is a Dutch national, while the woman is believed to be from the Dominican Republic.
The other two men are both Irish nationals, including a 45-year-old west Dublin criminal who has a previous conviction for growing a cannabis factory in his attic, and a 46-year-old man who is based in Dunboyne, Co Meath.
In a linked raid, officers from the DOCB seized 45kg of cannabis herb nearby.
The drugs, which are estimated to be worth more than €800,000, were found in a van stopped on the Naas Road at Rathcoole, Co Dublin.
A 42-year-old man from Navan, Co Meath, was still being questioned last night in Clondalkin Garda Station in relation to that.
The primary targets of the operation are a Traveller gang who were the subject of massive CAB raids last month in which gardai seized €1.5k cash, computers, stolen property, phones, cars, €2.5k drugs, an air rifle, jewellery, phones, computers and documentation, as well as cutting off their illegal ESB supply.
Sources say this mob has formed an alliance with associates of Sean Dunne, a well-known armed robber and drug dealer who disappeared in Spain in 2004.
He is presumed to have been murdered but his associates are considered to be among Europe’s biggest drugs traffickers.
In a completely separate raid, gardai also announced they seized cannabis with an estimated street value of €210,000 in Finglas.
A 26-year-old man from north Dublin was due to appear in court this morning charged in relation to the drugs seizure.
However, most of the focus last night by specialist officers was on the cocaine bust, which Assistant Commissioner John O’Driscoll said was a result of international police work.
“In any of these operations where the substance comes from outside of the country there will be international co-operation,” he said.
The Herald has been highlighting the activities of the Traveller gang at the centre of the seizures for a number of years.
Apart from a nationwide drug dealing operation, the arrested suspects are thought to have made up to €1m from cash-in-transit robberies in the capital between 2013 and 2016.
The gang is also involved in large-scale heavily organised theft, fraud, money laundering and burglary offences.
The mob is one of a number of criminal gangs working together in a multi-million euro international car-theft ring in which cars that are being stolen to order across Ireland are shipped out of the country.
The Criminal Assets Bureau previously targeted the mob and seized €100k from it after a major investigation into oil laundering and tax offences.
The Traveller gang has close links to the Kinahan cartel and has been involved in laundering and moving money for the international crime syndicate.