Gardai seize €5m drugs haul from gang led by Ryan murder suspect
Gardai and customs have seized a €5m drugs haul from a gang led by a prime suspect for the murder of Real IRA leader Alan Ryan.
The shipment of 80kg of herbal cannabis and about 350,000 ecstasy tablets was intercepted in a joint operation after it had been smuggled through Dublin port from the Netherlands.
This is the fifth consignment of drugs to have been seized in the past year by gardai attached to the national drugs unit from associates of the murder suspect, who is from the northside of Dublin and the alleged leader of one of the biggest organised crime gangs in the country.
As a result of an intelligence-gathering operation, Customs officers became aware that the latest shipment had been brought into the port.
Following a controlled delivery on Tuesday night, armed officers from the garda unit swooped on a premises at the Rosemount business park in Blanchardstown, west Dublin, and took possession of the haul.
A 41-year-old man from Coolock, Dublin, was arrested as he was leaving the premises.
He is suspected of being the courier for the consignment. He was driving a rented vehicle.
Last night he was being held for questioning at Blanchardstown garda station under section 2 of the drug trafficking legislation, which allows officers to hold him without charge for up to seven days.
Customs officers said that the cannabis had an estimated street value of about €1.6m while the ecstasy tablets were worth €3.5m , making an overall value of €5.1m.
It is believed that the drugs were destined for sale on the streets of north and west Dublin and the shipment was to have been held in storage in the business premises for a short period before being distributed to a network of dealers at local level.
Gardai say the seizure is a substantial financial blow to the gang leader but acknowledge that other shipments are likely to have been smuggled into the country in the past by his associates without the knowledge of the authorities.
The shipments are usually brought into the country, either directly from the Netherlands, where Irish crime gangs have significant contacts to make wholesale purchases of drugs, or else through Britain.
The gang boss is believed by gardai to have been one of a small group of organised crime gang bosses who banded together to order the murder of Ryan last September.
The Real IRA leader and his group of dissident republicans had been trying to intimidate crime gangs into paying them a slice of their profits from drug trafficking, extortion rackets and armed robberies.
This led to a series of armed confrontations between the two sides and culminated in Ryan's murder. Since then, the leadership of the new dissident group, which emanated from an alliance of existing republican gangs, has taken control of activities in Dublin.