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Garda Press Office

Gardaí seize estimated €35 million worth of cocaine disguised as charcoal

Criminals were attempting to smuggle half a tonne of cocaine into Ireland.

ORGANISED CRIME GARDAÍ have seized an estimated €35 million worth of suspected cocaine. 

The drugs were discovered in a shipping container which originated in Colombia. Gardaí took control of two of the containers in Rotterdam in the Netherlands.

Officers received assistance from the Irish Navy and Customs & Revenue in arranging for the transportation of the containers to Ireland. The containers arrived at Dublin Port and were brought ashore under armed escort.

Gardaí had received intelligence that multiple crime groups were attempting to import half a tonne of cocaine into Ireland. 

The two containers were found to contain up to 2,000 bags of charcoal.

However,  by using Garda dogs and a mobile x-ray scanner, anomalies were discovered in respect of a number of bags that purported to be charcoal. 

The services of Forensic Science Ireland (FSI) were also used to confirm the presence of cocaine in those bags. 

A garda spokesman said: “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.”

Gardaí said 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.”

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