Belfast Telegraph

Monday 29 December 2014

Five held in €5.4m Ikea car park drugs bust

Gardai have seized a massive haul of herbal cannabis in the car park of the Ikea superstore on the northside of Dublin.

Officers from the Republic's national drugs unit recovered the drugs, with a street value of around €5.4m, after they intercepted what they believed to be a handover of the shipment in the car park.

It brings the total amount of drugs seized by gardai to more than €16.5m in the past month.

The latest seizure follows a big intelligence gathering operation mounted by the national unit into the activities of a south county Dublin gang with overseas contacts.

The officers were backed up by detectives from the organised crime unit in yesterday afternoon's swoop on the suspects at the Ikea park in Ballymun. Four men were arrested, one from Tallaght, a Dutch national and two Asians, along with a woman from Wexford, and they were taken for questioning to Ballymun and Finglas stations. Under the anti-drug trafficking legislation, they can be held without charge for up to seven days.

Gardai had a van under surveillance at the Ikea car park, the van was driven away to an industrial unit on an estate in Finglas, before being driven back to Ikea.

As the van left again with the car, both vehicles were intercepted by armed gardai, and the drugs were seized. Shortly afterwards a woman was arrested near the Ikea car park.

Officers said last night they were satisfied that the seizure had dealt a significant financial blow to the gang, who had imported the shipment for distribution in the Dublin market.

It follows another major drugs seizure on April 17, when members of the national unit recovered heroin, cocaine, cannabis and ecstasy, worth around €5.3m, in counties Dublin and Meath.

Hauls of drugs were found in storage depots in Navan and Finglas and two other locations in the capital while six guns, including a Steyr machine gun, were also confiscated.

That shipment also had a significant overseas connection and was linked back by gardai to associates of Ireland's biggest criminal, Christy Kinahan, who is currently based in Spain.

The six guns were located in special compartments hidden within a number of vehicles also seized by the officers. A large quantity of ammunition was also found. The operation was the culmination of months of surveillance intelligence gathering by gardai.

Earlier this week, Interim Garda Commissioner Noirin O'Sullivan described the seizures as proof of the garda determination to focus on drugs and organised crime.

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