Street dealers are targeted in major garda drugs blitz
More than two dozen suspects will appear on drug dealing charges in Dublin district court tomorrow after a series of garda raids across Dublin's north inner city.
The garda searches were part of an operation, codenamed Tempest, set up to focus on suspected street dealers after complaints from local residents and business communities.
More than 100 officers were involved in the blitz on suspects' homes yesterday morning following a six-month covert operation to identify those believed responsible for the drugs scourge in the north inner city.
During the 46 searches gardai seized small quantities of heroin, cocaine, cannabis, several minor hauls of cash and drug linked equipment. Other searches had already been carried out in the Bridewell area of the inner city last week.
Tempest resulted in 30 arrests while another 15 suspects have yet to be interviewed by gardai as they were either missing from their homes when the raids were being carried out or are already locked up in jail in connection with other offences.
Officers said Tempest was expected to result in almost 100 drugs sale and supply charges being brought against 45 people. It was set up after gardai interviewed 8,000 residents in the area to identify the main policing issues.
With help from the Garda national drugs unit, community policing officers planned the raids in the Store Street, Mountjoy and Bridewell garda districts after undercover officers purchased drug deals from suspected street traffickers.
Tempest is linked to Operation Cleanstreets, which has targeted several key districts where drug dealing is regarded as a serious problem.
Officers from the gardai's north central division were also backed up by members of the Emergency Response Unit, the Air Support Unit and the Dog Unit.
The search teams were directed to gather at Garda headquarters in the Phoenix Park at 6.30am yesterday and were given their targeted addresses before setting out in convoy 40 minutes later.
Chief Supt Pat Leahy, who led the operation, told the Irish Independent that the 30 arrests were in addition to 55 carried out in recent weeks under Operation Spire, which is aimed at drug dealing in the city centre.
He said Tempest was a direct response to community concerns identified during door to door discussions by community officers with the 8,000 residents since the start of the year.
Tempest targeted alleged dealers selling or supplying drugs to local communities which had a significant negative impact on the quality of life enjoyed by residents and on businesses in the area.
He said that while this had been a major operation, it had been supported by several smaller measures, reflecting a bottom up approach to policing.
"Over the past four years, we have engaged in the small areas policing project where we mapped out the north inner city area and restructured the way our community gardai carried out their work by assigning them very specific areas," said Leahy.