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Polish drugs gang on run after gardai swoop

Blanchardstown, Clonee, Mulhuddart, Porterstown and Navan with two located in the Waterville estate.

The suspects, who are being questioned at Blanchardstown, Navan and Ballymun garda stations today, are not considered to be "the brains behind the operation".

A source explained: "They were involved in cultivating the drugs and this was being done on an industrial scale. This gang has been operating here for years."

The cultivation of cannabis herb requires large amounts of electricity and the gang was bypassing the main electricity grid for their operation, a practice described as "very dangerous" because of risks of fire.

Most of the cannabis factories were located in attics of the west Dublin properties and were equipped with tens of thousands of euro worth of specialised equipment, including special lighting, pumps and modified baths.

All the suspects who have been arrested are likely to be charged over the coming few days.

Growhouse gangs have been forced to change their tactics because of the recent series of garda successes in seizing plants from industrial-sized warehouses.

They use smaller grow- houses to ensure that one seizure does not take out their entire crop, and instead of renting warehouses they are converting rented houses and apartments into growhouses.

Sources say that the cannabis gang who were busted have strong links to a British-based criminal organisation and their only links to Irish criminals is actually selling them their 'product'.

And the gang was selling vast quantities of the drug -- at a kilo level, according to sources.

Yesterday's operation was part of a massive intelligence-led effort by Blanchardstown gardai and the National Drugs Unit. It had been ongoing for months.

It was the second huge seizure by gardai in Dublin this week.

In an unrelated operation on Sunday night, a 37-year-old man was arrested after gardai seized 15 kilos of heroin at a house in Lucan with an alleged street value of €2.9m -- the biggest drugs bust of the year.

The seizure was as a result of an ongoing operation by detectives from Clondalkin Drugs Unit.