Police in Ireland last week discovered a haul of herbal cannabis worth an estimated €37.5 million, one of the largest seizures ever discovered in the country.
The near two-tonne shipment, which officers from An Garda Síochána showed off to the press on Saturday, was found on a boat which docked at Dublin Port last week. Reportedly acting on a tip-off, Garda and Revenue officials boarded the vessel on Friday and recovered 1,873kg of herbal cannabis.
The drugs had been packed carefully into crates after being disguised as machine parts.
Garda said the operation was part of a wider investigation into serious and organised crime in Ireland and around the globe, and that the shipment was likely coordinated by a coalition of gangs involved in drug smuggling rather than a single organisation.
Minister for Justice Frances Fitzgerald said: “Today’s seizure, in particular, demonstrates [our] determination and resourcefulness in going after the activities of drugs gangs who seek to profit from causing such misery in communities through their deadly trade.
“The government will continue to fully support both An Garda Síochána and the Customs Service in carrying out this vital work.”
Garda Assistant Commissioner John O’Driscoll said: “We are all about trying to achieve results and this I believe in anyone’s estimation is a great result.”
According to a report from the Irish Mirror, one of the country’s most-feared crime families was among the organisations behind the smuggling attempt. The paper claims members of the notorious Kinahan clan are currently trying to identify the “rat” who led the authorities to the massive cannabis haul.
If identified, the individual will immediately be shot dead, a source told the paper.
“This is a massive seizure,” the source said. “The Kinahans will be seeing red over it. They will want to know how Garda found out about it.
“By all means it was a highly organised operation. Moving such a large quantity of drugs like that requires massive planning. The person who touted to the cops is a dead man walking.”
In November last year, it was reported that the Kinahan gang, which is mostly based in Spain, suspected one of its members was about to turn “supergrass”. A source told the DublinLive website the cartel had become suspicious after a number of failed assassination attempts and firearms seizures.
The Irish Mirror claims the cannabis seizure is currently under armed guard in case the Kinahans attempt to steal it back.
Ireland is a major entry point for drug traffickers seeking to smuggle illegal substances into Europe. If the shipment – which would likely have made its way to Dublin from Africa – was successful, much of it would probably have been distributed to dealers in other European countries.