Thursday 22 August 2019

Four detained after Garda raid on 'cocaine lab'

(Stock photo)
(Stock photo)

Ralph Riegel

Three men and a woman are in Garda custody after they were arrested in an investigation into a high-tech cocaine smuggling operation.

Clothing containing the drug was being imported into Ireland from South America, it has emerged.

The woman in her 20s, from Kinsale, Co Cork, was detained at a rented property on the outskirts of Bantry as part of a joint Garda and customs investigation.

Details of Sunday night's raid on the 'cocaine lab' were released yesterday.

Among those also arrested in the same raid were a father (51) and son (27), from the Clondalkin area, and a 26-year-old man from Baldoyle, Co Dublin.

The three are suspected of being "serious players" in the drugs trade.

The 27-year-old has a number of previous convictions. The most serious was for violent disorder in which a man was savagely beaten up.

Three people are due in Bandon District Court this morning in relation to the seizure. The probe into the cocaine operation was initiated after gardaí and customs learned of shipments from Latin America to the rented two-storey house in Co Cork.

The cargoes consisted of boxes of fabric, with crystallised cocaine concealed inside.

Chemicals were used to extract the cocaine by liquefying it before it was dried into powder for sale and distribution.

An estimated €200,000 of drugs were seized at the property.

Quantities of cocaine and equipment was seized in a number of rooms in the house which had been converted into illicit labs.

The State Laboratory has been analysing the haul to determine both its street value and purity.

It is suspected the gang was importing fabrics across the Atlantic, supposedly for sale in Ireland.

However, items of the material had become heavily tainted with cocaine during the complex soaking process.

Once in Ireland, the clothes would have been subjected to a special chemical wash.

Irish Independent

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