Dealer blamed for not 'cutting' lethal heroin
GARDAI believe a mixing error by a drug dealer resulted in a lethal concentration of heroin being distributed, which claimed two lives and left seven others critically ill.
Detectives now suspect a Cork dealer mistakenly thought a kilo of heroin had already been partially 'cut' or diluted -- when in fact it was exceptionally pure.
In its circulated form, it proved highly toxic to users.
Cork users were left with heroin that was up to five times more powerful than the drugs they were used to -- with tragic consequences.
Gardai stressed that while the results of toxicology tests won't be available for at least two weeks, they are satisfied the heroin involved was not contaminated.
Toxicology tests will determine if, as suspected, two men -- Gary O'Sullivan (30) from Togher and Gavin Thompson (26) from Gurranabraher -- died from heroin overdoses.
They died last Thursday and Friday after falling ill following suspected drug use.
Seven other individuals were treated in Cork University Hospital for suspected drug overdoses -- two of whom remain seriously ill. Doctors are hopeful all seven will recover.
Mr O'Sullivan had been due before Cork District Court next month to face a charge of possessing a toy gun on a city centre street during the state visit of Queen Elizabeth in May 2011.
Gardai conducted more than a dozen raids throughout the weekend in Cork city in a bid to recover the drugs.
A quantity of heroin was seized during three raids -- the drugs will now be sent to the State Laboratory for testing. The haul is understood to be from the super-strength batch.
Gardai suspect the deaths and illnesses are linked to one kilo of high-grade heroin smuggled into Cork within the last fortnight.
Emergency consultant Dr Chris Luke said it was vital that people did not use the heroin involved.
"The message we need to get out to people is 'don't inject' -- and if you feel ill after drug use, then get to a doctor or hospital immediately," he said.