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Gardaí thank communities for help catching 54 drug dealers

The youngest arrested as part of the operation was just 15-years-old.

Image: drug deal image via Shutterstock

Updated 6.30pm

GARDAÍ TODAY THANKED members of the public who have helped them in an undercover operation that resulted in the arrests of 35 people in the last 48 hours.

The busts were made in Cavan, Portlaoise and the Blanchardstown area of Dublin.

As part of this operation, a total of 54 people will be hauled before their local courts, charged with more than 240 alleged drugs offences. The youngest is just 15 years old.

Chief Superintendent Michael O’Sullivan with the Drugs and Organised Crime Bureau told reporters this afternoon that these operations could not have taken place “without the cooperation and information supplied by members of the public in those communities”.

“We want to thank those people,” he said, adding that gardaí also wanted to reassure the public that they are committed to tackling drugs at every level.

There was a particular focus in these operations on stymying the flow of heroin into these areas and the majority of seizures were heroin. Other drugs such as cocaine, cannabis herb and benzodiazepines were also seized.

Where were the arrests made?

Three separate operations were carried out as part of the long-term anti-drug strategy.

Here is how the operations went:

  • Operation Sarto, carried out in Cavan Town, will see 19 alleged offenders being brought before the local District Court this morning, 
  • Operation Nero, carried out in Portlaoise, will see 16 alleged offenders brought before the local District Court this morning, 
  • Operation Rhea, carried out in Blanchardstown, will see 19 alleged offenders brought before the local District Court this morning.

Who has been arrested?

Gardaí have said that those arrested include a total of 47 men and seven women, ranging in age from 15 to 49 years old. O’Sullivan said it is always a concern when a minor is involved in this kind of organised crime, though he added “it’s probably not the youngest person who has ever come into contact with An Garda Síochána in relation to drugs”.

All of the people arrested in these operations are local, street-level dealers.

The chief superintendent said they are “an integral part of the criminal network”.

He could be a supervisor of street dealers, he could be an important person who during the course of the operation was targeted and evidence was obtained that they were selling drug. Without them it wouldn’t happen.

“They won’t be quickly replaced. It’s a huge blow to any criminal network. You build the trust with people to supply your stuff and they get caught, you lose your stuff , you lose your supplier and it shakes the whole foundation of it,” he explained.

However O’Sullivan stressed that it is not just the small fish in the network who are being targeted.

“We do it at all levels, this is just part of it, a piece of a jigsaw, a longterm jigsaw,” he said.

“We have got big players through financial investigations, we have got them hands on with drugs , we have got them through a variety of methods”

Those arrested and charged appeared in court earlier today.

Comments on this article have been turned off as it is subject to ongoing legal proceedings. 

- With reporting by Michael Shiels McNamee. 

Read: Staff member injured after robbery at knife-point

Also: Fianna Fáil wants gardaí on the Luas to stop burglars escaping

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