Belfast Telegraph

Wednesday 3 September 2014

Garda chief to target 'head shops''

Det Chief Supt Tony Quilter, Head of the Garda National Drugs Unit, has vowed to tackle 'head shops'

The head of the Garda drug squad has vowed to target so-called "head shops" selling illegal highs and warned criminals targeting the controversial stores they would also be pursued.

Detective Chief Superintendent Tony Quilter said the force was behind local communities in tackling the issue.

It is understood the Director of Public Prosecutions is preparing files against four "head shop" owners across the country for selling illegal substances.

But the Garda National Drug Unit chief issued a stark warning to those thinking of taking the law into their own hands.

"Attacks on these premises pose danger to the communities," the senior officer said. "This could have resulted in injuries to persons. We were fortunate that that hasn't occurred.

"But we're conscious that attacks of that nature are unwarranted and we are determined to stamp them out and bring any perpetrators to justice."

Gardai declined to reveal who they believe are behind the attacks but it is thought to be either out-of-pocket drug dealers or vigilantes angered by the presence of the stores in their neighbourhoods.

Detective Chief Superintendent Quilter said gardai were monitoring the 70 "head shops" spread across the state, with officers involved in undercover operations to probe whether highs being sold are legal.

It is understood the four owners under investigation are alleged to have been selling the illegal hallucinogen Mescaline.

"Head shops" have begun dropping leaflets into houses in certain areas of Dublin city advertising their products for sale and offering home delivery.

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