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Wednesday 20 November 2019

Gardai seize €5m worth of cannabis plants in nationwide raids

Ed Carty

Five million euro worth of cannabis plants have been seized as part of an ongoing nationwide anti-drugs operation.

Four industrial style grow houses were raided by gardai in Mayo, Wexford, Kildare and Meath and five men - three Asian and two Polish, all aged in their 30s - were arrested.

The biggest warehouse operation was in Tramore where €1.6m of the drugs was recovered followed by Swinford, €1.4m, Ardee, €1.2m, and Newbridge, €800,000.

The raids were carried out by the Garda drugs squad under Operation Nitrogen.

Officers from local divisions supported the search teams and further inspections were carried out on units in Buncrana, Co Donegal, Gardiner Street in central Dublin and also in Clondalkin in the west of the capital.

A storage depot for equipment used to cultivate the drug in warehouses was also discovered in an industrial unit in Blanchardstown, west Dublin.

The five suspects were all detained under section two of the Criminal Justice (Drug Trafficking) Act 1996.

They were being questioned at Ballina, Tramore and Drogheda Garda stations.

Justice Minister Alan Shatter revealed last week that Operation Nitrogen led to more than 500 drugs factories being raided on the back of Garda intelligence last year.

More than 26,000 cannabis plants valued at €10.5m - the vast majority of which were regarded as high potency - were seized and destroyed.

Among other major successes this year was a raid on a house in late June near Menlough, Co Galway, which uncovered 800 plants worth about €640,000.

This month alone 480 plants worth €380,000, were found at a house in Lobinstown, Navan, Co Meath, and a warehouse at Drumaville near Malin, Co Donegal, held about €1m worth of plants.

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