Tuesday 12 December 2017

Nightmare for gang as gardai find drugs haul hidden in beds

Tom Brady Security Editor

DRUG traffickers planned to sleep soundly after they had successfully smuggled a huge consignment of cannabis into the country -- concealed in bed headboards and posts.

But their dreams were shattered when gardai stopped a van in Dublin city centre and detected the haul with the aid of high-tech scanners.

Last night three suspects were being questioned by detectives after an intelligence-led operation mounted by the Garda National Drugs Unit (GNDU). A further consignment of cannabis was discovered in a follow-up search of a warehouse in an industrial estate in Rathcoole, Co Dublin.

A senior garda officer told the Irish Independent last night: "This was a very elaborate concealment and the drugs were not found until we brought in the scanners. At first glance, the headboards and bed posts appeared to be part of a genuine shipment.

"But the boards had been fitted with a false backing and the cannabis resin had been carefully packaged and taped inside," the officer added.

The seizures have dealt a major financial blow to the activities of a major west Dublin drugs gang. This was the second time that the gang had been hit by the GNDU this month.

As a result of intelligence, members of the unit stopped the van at Arran Quay on Tuesday night.

The driver of the van, a 60-year-old man, was arrested and taken to the Bridewell station for questioning under the Drug Trafficking Act.

After an initial examination of the contents of the van had failed to locate the drugs, gardai enlisted the assistance of Customs, who supplied them with high-tech scanning equipment used at air and sea ports.

A haul of about 230kg of cannabis was found hidden in the shipment.

A garda officer said they had not encountered this type of concealment previously.

On Wednesday night, the GNDU raided a warehouse at the Greenogue industrial estate and found another 40kg of the drug hidden there.

Value

The street value of the combined haul is reckoned to be €1.89m and it is believed the cannabis was destined for sale and distribution on the west Dublin market.

A 40-year-old man was detained at the warehouse and he was taken for questioning at Clondalkin station.

A passenger in the van which was stopped at Arran Quay was arrested by gardai in the city centre yesterday morning and he was also taken to the Bridewell.

All three can be held for a maximum of seven days without charge under the Drug Trafficking Act.

Last night gardai were trying to establish when the drugs shipment was brought into the country and what route was used by the traffickers.

Earlier this month, the GNDU, backed up by local gardai, arrested 37 people in west Dublin following a six-month undercover operation targeting drug dealers in the area.

The operation, codenamed Reagent, followed lengthy street surveillance and undercover work by detectives, who posed as drug addicts to purchase deals on the streets of the west city suburbs.

One of the gangs hit by the operation was believed to have been responsible for organising the cannabis shipment seized this week.

Irish Independent

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