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Mr Big crony held in €1.7m drugs seizure

ONE of the major players in the capital's drug scene was in custody last night after a massive raid by gardai.

The well-known Coolock criminal (36) was being questioned about a €1.7m drugs haul. Gardai from Store Street seized €1m worth of ecstasy in a raid on a house in north Co Dublin.

Cannabis herb worth €700,000 was also discovered in the house on The Strand, Donabate, on Thursday night.

The criminal in custody is closely linked to gang boss Mr Big. As a result of the raid, Mr Big's operations have suffered a major setback.

Mr Big – who is on bail in relation to serious gang related charges – is suspected of ordering the murder of RIRA chief Alan Ryan last September.

Drugs officers became aware of the stash and had been carrying out surveillance on a property in Donabate.

Gardai say the haul is a "major breakthrough in smashing the supply chain on ecstasy throughout Ireland".

"This amount of ecstacy is a rare find and is being viewed by gardai as a major success," said a garda source.

"The amount of cannabis found is also substantial and this operation will put a large dent in the drug distribution and supply networks of Dublin and beyond."

The 36-year-old man, an Irish national, was being held at Mountjoy Garda Station. He can be held for up to seven days for questioning.

While ecstacy seizures of this size are rare, the garda nationwide crackdown on cannabis distribution has yielded finds of major value in recent months.

An increasing number of growhouses in homes and small industrial units are being discovered through intelligence. In Co Galway last month cannabis plants worth about €2.5m were found in Tuam.

It came just days after a raid in Co Meath when €1.5m of cannabis plants and herb was seized in Kells.

Approximately 3,000 plants at various stage of growth were seized along with drug-growing paraphernalia in Tuam.

Drug gangs are now believed to be driving their cultivation systems underground.

Last month detectives discovered a sophisticated growhouse contained in two 40ft containers which had been buried under a mobile home in a remote part of west Cork.