Gardai seize cannabis worth €5m during growhouse raids
Senior gardai say cannabis growhouses now pose one of the main challenges to law enforcement here.
This follows the seizure of more than six thousand cannabis plants in four separate growhouses across the State.
It brings the number of plants seized to record levels under a nationwide operation, codenamed Nitrogen and spearheaded by the garda national drugs unit.
The seizures yesterday were made in Tramore, where plants with a street value of €1.6m were seized; Swinford, Co Mayo (€1.4m); Ardee, Co Louth (€1.2m); and Newbridge, Co Kildare (€800,000).
The combined street value of the seizures worked out at €5m. All of the growhouses were located in industrial units in the towns.
Three Chinese men and two Poles were arrested and were being questioned by officers last night at garda stations n Ballina, Tramore and Drogheda.
Gardai also uncovered a storage depot for equipment used in cannabis cultivation at an industrial unit in Blanchardstown in west Dublin. The depot contained items ranging from lighting to compost, hydroponics and pots.
Gardai believe the finds have resulted in the dismantling of two separate growhouse networks, which operated their own cultivation projects and also provided assistance to others involved in the criminal activity.
"Despite the large number of successes we have achieved, there is still a huge surge in cannabis growhouses and it is coming close to epidemic levels," one officer admitted last night.