'Zero tolerance' gardaí seize €170,000 of drugs in planned search ahead of Electric Picnic festival
Gardaí carrying out planned drug searches ahead of this month's Electric Picnic festival seized €170,000 of LSD and cocaine in a raid.
The planned operation took place last Friday at a property on the outskirts of Portlaoise, and sources said it was one of a number of targeted drug searches planned before the annual musical festival, which starts on August 30.
"This was a sizeable seizure and there will be more searches carried out in the weeks ahead," a source said.
"There is certainly a suspicion that the drugs seized at the weekend were to be targeted at music fans heading for Electric Picnic."
A local man aged in his 40s was arrested and questioned at Portlaoise garda station before being released without charge.
Large seizures of LSD are relatively rare in Ireland. The bust is one of the biggest in recent years.
The seized drugs are being examined by Garda specialists after a large number of sheets of paper containing the hallucinogen were seized.
Sources said gardaí will be adopting a "zero tolerance" approach to drug use at the event.
"At these festivals, people take chances they would normally not take, but they should realise the implications of being caught, as well as the health issues surrounding the misuse of drugs," the source said.
Just under 500 people were arrested for drug possession at last year's Electric Picnic, including 45 for drug sale or supply. The figures were revealed by Laois-Offaly Garda Chief Superintendent John Scanlan of the Joint Policing Committee in Portlaoise last September.