Gardaí have seized €34m worth of cocaine disguised as coal.
An Garda Síochána, through the Garda National Drugs & Organised Crime Bureau (GNDOCB), is leading in an investigation involving a “significant international dimension”, relating to a suspected importation of cocaine into Europe and Ireland, in particular, from South America.
GNDOCB believe an attempt was being made by an organised crime group to import up to half a tonne of cocaine into Ireland.
Cocaine disguised as coal
An Garda Síochána took possession of two shipping containers that arrived a number of weeks ago at Rotterdam Port.
In a statement, a spokesperson for An Garda Síochána, said:
“An Garda Síochána has received assistance from the Irish Navy and Customs & Revenue in arranging for the transportation of the relevant two containers to Ireland.”
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 the 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.“
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 Garda National Drugs & Organised Crime Bureau’s investigation “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.”