| 24.9°C Dublin

Drug gang links to €3.8m hotel cocaine suspect

Gardai are investigating if a man who was arrested in Spain after throwing two suitcases of cocaine out of a hotel window is connected to a major west-Dublin drugs trafficking gang.

It is alleged the man threw the cases, which contained a staggering 55kgs of cocaine, out of the eighth-floor window of a Valenica hotel during a paranoia attack.

The haul would have an estimated street value of over €3.8m in Ireland.

Last night officers from the Garda National Drugs Unit were trying to determine if 
the 39-year-old suspect is in fact a Dublin man who is extremely well known to the specialised unit for involvement in the 
importation of cocaine and heroin into this country for many years.

A senior source told the Herald: "The name and date of birth that were given to 
gardai indicates that he has connections to a gang based 
in the Ballyfermot and Clondalkin area that has been involved in heavy-duty drugs trafficking for many years here.

"We would be pretty satisfied that he is who we think he is, but we are awaiting final 
confirmation of this."

confirm

The source added that it is expected that gardai will "definitely" confirm his identity when more enquiries are made with their Spanish counterparts in the coming days.

Gardai suspect that the man is part of a highly-organised crew that has been flooding Dublin with drugs for well over 15 years.

The suspect in custody in Spain is believed to be a very close associate of convicted heroin dealer Brian Grendon (37), who was jailed for six 
years in December 2002, after he was busted with almost €2m worth of heroin in Palmerstown, west Dublin, the previous year.

Grendon, of Greenforth Drive, Ronanstown, was previously described in court by a senior detective as being linked to a gang that "had in the past used fatal shootings of anyone who compromised their business".

Spanish police believe the Irish man who they have in custody thought the noise from guests in the hotel was from rival criminals trying to steal the drugs, causing him to suffer an attack of paranoia.

The man tried to recover the cases after they landed in an internal patio, but a receptionist had already called police.

The suspect was caught by officers after he was locked out of his room and went to get another key.

The bizarre incident happened last Friday, just before 10pm, at the four-star Tryp Valencia Oceanic Hotel on Spain's north-east coast. The suspected trafficker had checked into the hotel a few hours earlier.

Ceiling tiles in his room -number 801 - along with an air conditioning vent had been removed in an apparent attempt to hide his illegal stash.

A spokeswoman for Valencia's National Police said: "I can confirm a 39-year-old Irish national was arrested after allegedly throwing a suitcase full of cocaine from his e ighth-floor hotel window.

spotted

"We were alerted by a receptionist. The man in question was arrested outside his room after officers spotted him with a suitcase similar to the one laden with drugs which had been thrown into an internal hotel patio, and discovered it also contained cocaine.

"They found ceiling tiles had been dislodged along with an air conditioning vent and the bath had been filled with water when they entered the room."

kfoy@herald.ie


Privacy