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Home / News / Call to boost security services after €32.8m drug haul

Call to boost security services after €32.8m drug haul

A former assistant garda commissioner has said gardaí, the Naval Service and Revenue’s Customs Service need to be strengthened through recruitment and resources to tackle the flow of drugs into and through this country.

Dr Pat Leahy was speaking as gardaí continue to question two men arrested in Kerry following the seizure of more than half a tonne of synthetic drugs at the Port of Cork yesterday.

If analysis confirms that the 546 kilos of synthetic drugs seized in Ringaskiddy yesterday is crystal meth, it would be the biggest seizure of that drug here to date.

Dr Pat Leahy has seen first-hand how drugs destroyed communities over his 38-year career. Most of his service was in Dublin.

He was Chief Superintendent of the north inner city, before he was appointed Assistant Commissioner for all of Dublin.

He says the arrival of crystal meth here would be even more devastating.

“If we take yesterday, what landed here [in Ringaskiddy], if that volume of crystal meth was distributed across Ireland, we would find increased overdoses. The death rate would spike,” Dr Leahy told RTÉ News.

“It is so addictive it would become the drug of choice very, very quickly. It has such a devastating effect on individuals and communities. It’s something we would probably not recover from.”

GardaÍ are currently operating on the basis that the drugs seized in Ringaskiddy were not manufactured here.

Instead, they believe they originated with a cartel in Mexico and were transiting through Ireland, en route to Australia.

In Australia, the haul would have a street value of more than €160 million, five times greater than the street value of the same haul in Ireland.

Gardaí believe there were people in this country who assisted in the operation to transit the drugs through Ireland and onwards to Australia.

Analysis of the drugs haul is now underway at Forensic Science Ireland in Dublin. This is expected to confirm that the drugs are crystal meth, as well as confirming its street value.

The Port of Cork at Ringaskiddy

Today, there was further evidence of the flow of drugs into this country:€6.5 million worth of cannabis and cocaine seized by Revenue in Rosslare.

One man has been arrested in connection with that seizure.

Mr Leahy says agencies fighting drug trafficking need to be beefed up.

“We are understaffed in key areas at the moment,” Dr Leahy said.

“We have to enhance our capacity to respond for sure and that probably needs to be resourced with personnel and technology. There are elements there we can improve.

“We must improve based on the evidence that we have seen over the last number of months – two extraordinary detections for drugs coming into the south coast of Ireland.

“That is really a wake-up call for us to say ‘they are using it [the route through Ireland], we are on the radar now’, and we need to have the resources and the capacity to respond.”

In Kerry, there is deep shock and concern that two men – one linked to business, the other politics – are being questioned by detectives there in connection with yesterday’s multi-million euro seizure in Ringaskiddy.

Both men are being detained under legislation enacted to tackle organised crime. They can be held for up to a week.

The garda investigation into yesterday’s seizure is now firmly centred on Kerry.

During searches there yesterday, two firearms – believed to be machine guns – were recovered by gardai.

Further searches are expected to continue over the coming days, mainly in an area north-east and east of Tralee.

Gardaí are searching for evidence of criminality and are understood to have seized computers and mobile phones.

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