Garda unearths €1m worth of cannabis
A SHARP-EYED garda has been hailed a hero after his community policing unearthed a massive drugs haul in one of Ireland's most remote areas.
The officer spotted suspicious activity at a warehouse in Inishowen, Co Donegal, and a follow-up operation found an industrial-scale cannabis factory with an estimated €1m worth of the drug inside.
Gardai moved into the disused industrial estate yesterday and arrested two Chinese nationals who had been living on the premises. Their living conditions were described as "primitive".
The gang had by-passed the ESB electricity metering system, stealing power directly from the grid to feed dozens of halogen lamps.
The locally-based garda had spotted activity at the run-down warehouse on the Greenhill Road 3km outside the town of Malin and became suspicious.
The premises were placed under surveillance and raided just after 10am.
"This was an operation producing cannabis on an industrial scale," said Supt Kevin English.
The seizure came on the same day as another senior garda warned that growhouses were now the choice of criminal gangs behind the drugs rackets.
Galway city Chief Superintendent Michael O'Sullivan said that there had been a significant increase in the number of growhouses in the west of Ireland.
"We believe that market forces are dictating this, that criminal gangs are setting up growhouses rather than importing drugs from abroad," he said.
Gardai in Galway seized €615,000 worth of cannabis in the city in the first eight months of this year and there were further large seizures last month after the discovery of growhouses at a number of locations.