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Gardai seize €2.5m of cannabis

IRELAND'S illegal drug trade has been dealt a major blow after gardai and customs made seizures worth over €2.5m.

A 33-year-old Lithuanian man is facing questioning today after a €1.7m consignment of cannabis was discovered in a truck at Dublin port.

And in a separate operation, the Garda National Drugs Unit seized drugs worth €850,000 at a house in Ashbourne, Co Meath.

The first seizure was made on Monday after gardai stopped a lorry on the M9 in Co Kildare.

The vehicle was later brought to Dublin Port where customs officials used sniffer dogs to detect the cannabis concealed in 20 pallets of tiles.

More than 270kgs of cannabis resin was found, and with 7kgs of herbal cannabis.

Gardai believe the seizure -- the second biggest cannabis haul in the past two years -- is linked to a south Dublin gang.

The drugs arrived on a ship from Spain and customs officials believe they have a street value of between €1.6m-€1.7m.

The driver of the vehicle is currently being held at Store Street Garda Station under drug trafficking legislation.

Elsewhere, two men in their 30s are being questioned at Kells Garda Station after officers seized €850,000 worth of drugs at a property in Rathlodge housing development in Asbourne.

The seizure was part of an ongoing operation against a Northside gang.

Cocaine, cannabis and ecstasy tablets were all discovered during the raid.

Gardai have noticed a significant rise in cannabis supply over the past year. A number of cannabis factories throughout the country have been busted.

Customs officials have been involved in 1,299 seizures of herbal cannabis so far in 2011, amounting to 368kg of the drug with a value of over €4.4m.

And officials have made 242 seizures of cannabis resin -- with a street value of €5m.