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'Torpedo-like' device found packed with drugs in Clare was likely attached to cargo ship

It contained cocaine worth €5 million. No such devices had been found in Ireland before.

000d1128-800 Source: Revenue

Updated at 7pm 

REVENUE OFFICERS HAVE seized cocaine with an estimated street value of over €5 million found concealed in a ‘torpedo-like’ device on the shoreline in Co Clare.

Acting on a report from a member of the public, Revenue Customs officers from the south-west region discovered the suspicious item on the shore near Liscannor.

Around 75kg of cocaine was found in the container.

Maritime Operations Manager with the Revenue Customs service Andrew Ryan said the container was likely attached below the waterline of a cargo ship.

75kg Cocaine Clare 13 - 2016.10.25 Source: Revenue

The device was around 2.5 metres long and was welded shut, he told RTÉ’s Drivetime programme this evening. It was found yesterday.

Such containers are “normally attached to the hull of legitimate cargo vessel,” Ryan said. While authorities check for them in Irish ports, it’s the first time such a device has been found in Irish waters.

Asked whether the crew of the ship it was attached to would have known it was there, he said:

“There was no way they would have known it.

These devices are normally attached by organised crime groups using divers, underneath the actual waterline of the vessel.

While officers were familiar with the design as it’s used internationally by drug gangs, no such devices had been found in Ireland before, he said.

75kg Cocaine Clare 2 - 2016.10.25 Source: Revenue

In a statement, Revenue said the public are asked “not to put themselves in danger by approaching or interfering with suspicious items such as this”.

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People living in coastal communities, maritime personnel and people living near airfields have been asked to report unusual or suspicious activities to Revenue via 1800 295 295.

000d1124-614 Source: Revenue

Investigations are continuing, Ryan said this evening.

It is not yet possible to say either where the drugs originated or their intended destination, he added.

- with reporting by Daragh Brophy 

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