Tuesday 14 August 2018

Drug probe as €3,000 of cocaine seized at Dublin army barracks after tip-off

Cathal Brugha Barracks
Cathal Brugha Barracks

Robin Schiller

A GARDA investigation is underway after a substantial amount of cocaine was found in an Irish army barracks.

The drugs were recovered after members of the Military Police Corps searched a living quarters at the base in the capital.

It is understood the search was carried out on foot of information received by the Defence Forces.

In total approximately €3,000 worth of cocaine was seized, and gardai have since been notified to conduct a separate investigation.

The operation was carried out at approximately 1.30pm on Friday, at the Cathal Brugha Barracks, on Dublin's southside.

The discovery of the drugs is being investigated by officers at Rathmines Garda Station, as well as the Military Police.

A source last night told the Herald: "This is being taken very seriously, even more so that the amount seized isn't only for personal use.

"A full investigation is underway from both the gardai and the Military Police which will attempt to determine who was in control of the drugs."

The Military Police are responsible for the prevention and investigation of offences, enforcement of discipline and general policing of the Defence Forces. A Garda spokeswoman confirmed that local officers are investigating the discovery of drugs at the army barracks and that no arrests have yet been made.

The drugs recovered have also been sent for analysis, but initial examinations have indicated that it is cocaine with an estimated street value of €3,000.

In a separate seizure at the Cathal Brugha Barracks in 2015, officers seized drugs and arrested a man on suspicion of being in possession of the prohibited substance for the purpose of sale or supply.

A total of 63 members of the Irish Army have failed drug tests for substances including cocaine and cannabis in the last five years - but just 46 were discharged from duty.

The compulsory random drug testing programme, introduced in 2002, is carried out on 10pc of the force each year.

Last year, 12 members of the Defence Forces failed a random test, with seven dismissed. In 2015, 17 failed to pass, with 12 forced to leave.

In the previous year, an illegal substance was found in five members of the force who were tested. Two of these then departed military life.

This is not the first time the barracks has hit the headlines - back in April, gardai launched an investigation into the alleged rape of a woman at the army barracks by a soldier.

The woman made a complaint to gardai after she was allegedly assaulted. The woman, from Dublin, met two soldiers at a pub in Rathmines, according to information that gardai are working on.

Sources say the trio had a "few drinks" before returning to the barracks.

Gardai received a call at 3am from the woman, who said she had been seriously sexually assaulted. The allegation has been made against one of the soldiers.

"Gardai at Rathmines are investigating an alleged assault on a female which allegedly occurred at Cathal Brugha Barracks," a Garda spokesman said.

He said that, due to the ongoing investigation, it would "not be appropriate to comment further at this time".

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