The Garda Síochána is leading in an investigation involving a significant international dimension, relating to suspected importation of cocaine into Europe and Ireland, in particular, from South America, they have announced.
The Garda National Drugs & Organised Crime Bureau (GNDOCB) believe an attempt was being made by an organised crime group to import up to half a tonne of cocaine into Ireland.
In the course of the investigation and following ongoing liaison with relevant law enforcement authorities in The Netherlands, An Garda Síochána took possession of two shipping containers that arrived a number of weeks ago, at Rotterdam Port.
The containers subsequently arrived at Dublin Port and were brought ashore under armed escort.
The two containers were found to contain up to 2,000 bags of charcoal.
However, through utilisation of Garda dogs and a mobile x-ray scanner in the possession of Revenue & Customs, anomalies were discovered in respect of a number of bags which purported to be charcoal.
The services of Forensic Science Ireland have been utilised to confirm the presence of cocaine in those bags identified through the scanning process as indicating anomalies with regard to their content.
“Initial examination undertaken by the FSI would tend to confirm the suspicion held by the Garda Síochána that the two shipping containers may have been used in an attempt to transport up to half of a tonne of cocaine into Ireland,” a statement from the Garda says.
“In the event that the full consignment of cocaine has been discovered, it has a potential street sale value of up to €35 million.
“However, it will take a number of days and perhaps longer for FSI to extract the cocaine from the product within which it is concealed.
“The investigation being undertaken by the Garda National Drugs & Organised Crime Bureau continues to progress. It is anticipated a number of suspects will be arrested in the near future.”
Assistant Commissioner John O’Driscoll, who is assigned to Organised and Serious Crime within the Garda Síochána said: “This is a significant development in the Garda Síochána’s effort to disrupt and dismantle organised crime groups suspected to be involved in the importation of cocaine and other drugs into Ireland.
“This operation, in which the Garda Drugs & Organised Crime Bureau is taking a lead role, has a significant international dimension and again emphasises the importance of cooperation within the law enforcement community within Europe and further afield”.