'More than entire cannabis seizures for 2015 and 2016' - Massive €37.5m Kinahan drugs haul pictured
This is the massive Kinahan drugs haul seized by gardaí at Dublin port yesterday.
The drugs discovery is one of the largest in several years and is greater than the collective cannabis seizures for the last two years.
In total, 1,873kg of cannabis herb was recovered, following a lengthy intelligence-led operation.
The drugs, which were seized shortly after 2pm yesterday, have an estimated street value of €37.5m.
Garda Assistant Commissioner John O'Driscoll told Independent.ie: "This I believe, in anyone's estimation is a great result. The joint co-operation between the two agencies has helped ensure that this quantity of illicit drugs has been removed from the market and it has helped to target organised crime in a very significant manner.
"We're all aware of the recent seizures of firearms from groups who are intent on killing each other. All of these actions combine to have a significant impact on organised crime.
"Our efforts at tackling organised crime is unrelenting and it's comprehensive."
Liam Irwin, Commissioner with the Revenue Commissioners, said: "The result is one of the biggest seizures we have seen for years. Just to put it in perspective, what we have here today is more than the entire cannabis seizures for 2015 and 2016."
Mr Irwin said that some of the drugs seized have already gone for analysis.
When asked what will happen to the drugs now, he explained that they will be stored in the interim for evidence. They may be used for evidence but will "ultimately be destroyed".
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Earlier it was revealed that the drugs were sourced by the Kinahan cartel and originated in South Africa.
The massive cannabis haul was hidden in mechanical tractor parts when it was recovered.
The shipment had been kept under surveillance by gardai for almost a week before it was seized. No arrests have yet been made but gardai are satisfied that the drugs belonged to the Kinahan cartel.
Yesterday's seizure involved a lengthy operation by Revenue's customs service and the Garda Drugs and Organised Crime Bureau (DOCB).
Gardai believe only a small number of gangs would have the resources to import such a large drugs shipment, but that this particular consignment was sourced by Christy Kinahan Snr's associates.
"These drugs belong to the cartel, there is no question about that. Only two, possibly three, other Irish criminal enterprises would be able to source such a large importation of drugs," a source said.
"The cartel would act as a wholesaler for other drug gangs across the country, as well as supplying their own dealers.
"The drugs originated from South Africa, which shows Daniel Kinahan's vast number of direct contacts," the source added.
It is a further blow to the cartel, which is currently involved in a deadly feud with the Hutch gang. The feud - which has so far claimed 11 lives - has led to major disruptions to the Kinahan cartel's daily operations.
Drugs Strategy Minister Catherine Byrne last night congratulated gardai and Revenue officials on the operation.
"This is further proof of the good work of Garda officers and their colleagues in Revenue in the ongoing battle against drugs in our capital city and country," she said.
The seizure is the largest recovery of cannabis herb in the history of the State.