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Fear and loathing in the drugs world after €700k bust increases the pressure on gang


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A gang at the heart of an operation in which gardaí seized cannabis worth €700,000 on Sunday were previously the organisers of another import operation that went awry.

In that case, a major drugs shipment worth almost €10 million was seized at ­Dublin Port last November after no one came to collect the drugs.

No arrests were made in last weekend’s operation but gardaí say that investigations into the seizure are ongoing.

Sources say that one of the main players in the gang is an “under-the-radar” gangster who left the capital around 15 years ago and is now based in Spain.

Another senior member is a 36-year-old drug dealer who was previously the target of a very high profile Criminal Assets Bureau (CAB) investigation which cannot be outlined here for legal reasons.

“This is an ever-emerging crew who seem to have deep pockets,” a source explained.

“There had been concern for a while about who was coming in and out of that location and gardaí conducted their search operation after receiving intelligence about the criminal elements who were operating there. To lose that amount of weed is not insignificant for any crime organisation but they have shown that they are a very resourceful and a well-funded outfit.”

Gardaí announced details of last Sunday morning’s bust in a press release.

“At approximately 11am, gardaí attached to Tallaght garda station including the Garda dog unit, regular unit and Tallaght and Rathfarnham divisional drugs units, searched a yard the in the Crooksling area of Brittas,” gardaí said.

“During the course of this search, cannabis with an approximate value of €700,000 was recovered.”

The latest development comes as the Irish Independent can reveal that a separate drugs gang centred around notorious crime figure Paul Rice is coming under major financial pressure to come up with cash after an €8m drugs seizure in Spain that happened in March.

The crew are even trying to sell properties in west Dublin a bid to raise funds, it has emerged.

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No one has been charged in relation to the massive seizure in Spain but sources say that there have been serious repercussions over cash owed with the Rice gang being one of three southside gangs who allegedly owe money to a Moroccan gang.

“The other two crews are based in the Rathfarnham and Clondalkin area. It seems that all three are being put under pressure to cough up €750,000 for what was seized in Spain earlier this year,” a source said.

Meanwhile the separate gang who were targeted in last Sunday’s raid are said to be regrouping after their ­cannabis herb shipment was seized.

The gang is also heavily involved in tobacco smuggling.

When they were busted last November by Revenue officers, 960kg of tobacco valued at more than €600,000 was seized from a storage unit in the Rathcoole area of ­Dublin in follow-up searches.

The day before, Revenue officers discovered a massive cocaine and drugs believed to be worth around €10million linked to the gang.

Customs officers discovered 60kg of cocaine in a container in Dublin Port alongside ­heroin, cannabis and ketamine.

The shipment lay for several days at Dublin Port – but no one came to pick it up.

“If they can survive a financial hit like that, they can survive anything,” a source said last night.

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