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Tuesday 20 February 2018

Heroin deaths not due to lethal batch, tests show

Ralph Riegel and Tom Brady

LABORATORY tests on the heroin that killed three people over the weekend established that the drug was neither contaminated nor "super strength".

As a result of the tests, gardai have concluded that the three deaths are unrelated.

Gardai said that the death of a man in Santry, Dublin, was probably caused by polydrug abuse, where heroin was mixed with other substances.

They think the two other deaths in Cork city were unconnected to this death.

Officers said the strength of heroin sold on the streets could vary between 45pc and 85pc, with the average sale usually around the lower level.

Tests on the heroin involved in the three cases showed the drug was of average strength.

However, it is believed to be stronger than the heroin normally sold in Cork, which is usually among the most diluted in the country.

One officer said: "The normal mixing agents were used in each case and street strength was about average, suggesting that the deaths were coincidental and not due to extraordinary, external circumstances."

Gardai said the full results of toxicology tests would not be available for at least two weeks.

Those tests will determine if, as suspected, the two men -- Gary O'Sullivan (30), from Togher, and Gavin Thompson (26) from Gurranabraher -- died from heroin overdoses on Thursday and Friday, respectively.

Cork gardai believe they have identified the dealer who supplied the heroin that left seven others ill in hospital.


Detectives have also seized a significant quantity of the drug following a series of raids, with only minor amounts believed to still be in circulation in Cork city and county.

However, gardai admitted that their ability to pursue the dealer will depend on the seven people treated at Cork University Hospital co-operating with their investigation and agreeing to make statements.

Gardai believe the heroin came in from the Netherlands and more than likely originated from Afghanistan or Pakistan.

The dealer believed to be behind the supply is in his 40s and has close links to Limerick-based crime gangs.

The two men who died in Cork were already in poor health.

Irish Independent

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