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Man arrested after 'largest ever seizure' of prison contraband destined for Kinahan cartel inmates

The seizure was made at Mountjoy Prison earlier today.

Some of the items seized at Mountjoy today.
Some of the items seized at Mountjoy today.
Image: Irish Prison Service

Updated Nov 17th 2020, 6:17 PM

A MAN IN his 40s has been arrested after drugs, alcohol and mobile phones were discovered at Mountjoy Prison destined for prisoners belonging to the Kinahan cartel.

Cocaine with an estimated value of €140,000, tablets believed to be worth up to €20,000 and €5,000 in suspected cannabis were all discovered during the search, along with a small quantity of steroids, alcohol and 30 mobile phones.

The discovery was made following a security operation led by prison staff with the support of the operational support group (OSG) based in the prison. 

The arrested man was taken to Mountjoy garda station, where he is being detained under Section 4 of the Criminal Justice Act 1984.

The Irish Prison Service (IPS) said it is the largest single seizure of contraband into a prison in Ireland.

Multiple sources have said to TheJournal.ie that the contraband was destined for the D Wing in Mountjoy – where many of the Kinahan cartel’s low-level criminals are being held.

The IPS said the goods were seized from a van following a security operation led by prison staff with the support of the OSG based in the prison.

picture2-17112020-350x232 Some of the items seized in Mountjoy today. Source: Irish Prison Service

The OSG is a prison’s intelligence service. It monitors communication between prisoners and the outside world and raises an alert with prison management if there is a suspicion that contraband is to be smuggled onto the campus.

The contraband was discovered in a number of food boxes. 

The driver of the van has been detained for questioning but sources say he appears to be “completely confused” about what happened, and so far nothing has been discovered to indicate he had any knowledge of the illicit cargo prior to the seizure.

Gardaí and prison officers believe the stash of drugs and other illegal items were to be delivered to the kitchen area where a prisoner with access to the facilities was to distribute them.

picture-3-17112020-350x232 Phones seized in Mountjoy today. Source: Irish Prison Service

The seizure was carried out following intelligence received by prison officers.

A garda spokesperson said An Garda Síochána is assisting the IPS in relation to the seizure of drugs this morning. Investigations are ongoing. 

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The Director General of the Irish Prison Service Caron McCaffrey said this morning’s operation was “a very significant result” in the effort to “prevent dangerous contraband from entering the prison”.

“Given the scale of the contraband seized it is highly possible that these drugs, if they had made their way into the prison population, could have had a devastating impact on the prison population including the potential for the loss of life by overdose,” McCaffrey said.

With reporting by Orla Dwyer.

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