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Cocaine hidden in champagne and wine seized as part of 2m euro drug bust linked to Kinahan cartel

  • Seven men have been arrested as gardai confiscated the drugs
  • Number of suspects attempted to flee gardai by swimming across River Liffey during operation
  • Cocaine, cannabis and heroin seized along with hundreds of thousands of euros in cash

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Assistant Garda Commissioner John O'Driscoll said people operating at a significant level of criminality have been arrested. (Photo: Frank McGrath)

Assistant Garda Commissioner John O'Driscoll said people operating at a significant level of criminality have been arrested. (Photo: Frank McGrath)

Assistant Garda Commissioner John O'Driscoll said people operating at a significant level of criminality have been arrested. (Photo: Frank McGrath)

Seven men have been arrested after gardai in the Republic seized over 2 million euros worth of drugs and hundreds of thousands of euros in cash linked to the Kinahan cartel.

In one operation gardai discovered cocaine concealed in champagne and wine, while in another Dublin based associates of the gang were arrested in coordinated searches.

Those detained include both Irish criminals and foreign nationals suspected of involvement in drug trafficking networks on an "international level".

On Wednesday, detectives searched a private property in the Beaumont area where they seized bottles of wine and champagne.

The alcohol has since been technically examined and is suspected to contain cocaine in liquid form with an estimated street value of 150,000 euros.

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One man, aged in his 20s, was arrested as part of this seizure and is currently being held for drug trafficking offences at Ballymun Garda station.

In another operation gardai from the Drugs and Organised Crime Bureau (DOCB) intercepted a vehicle travelling along the M50 motorway, while follow-up searches were also carried out in Palmerstown and Dublin's south-inner city.

A number of suspects attempted to flee from gardai during the operation by swimming across the River Liffey but were later arrested.

During the searches cocaine, cannabis and heroin were recovered with an estimated street value of 2 million euro, as well as hundreds of thousands of euros in cash.

Money counting and vacuum packing machines, encrypted communication devices and a "substantial quantity" of documentation were also seized and are being examined.

Six men, aged between their 20s and 40s, have been arrested as part of this operation and are being held under drug trafficking legislation at various garda stations.

It's understood that those in custody include individuals from Dublin's north-inner city who have close links to criminals serving lengthy sentences for murder plots carried out on behalf of the Kinahan cartel.

Gardaí believe they were continuing to operate a drugs network in the capital on behalf of the international crime gang who were hit with financial sanctions by the US Government in April.

Assistant Garda Commissioner John O'Driscoll, in charge of the force's response to serious and organised crime, said people operating at a significant level of criminality have been arrested.

"The outcome of operational activity undertaken by the Garda National Drugs and Organised Crime Bureau, supported by a number of other specialised units within the Garda Siochana, over the past twenty-four hours, is very significant and reflects exceptional policing skills along with dedication and bravery on the part of the personnel involved.

"Arising from the global aspect of the drug supply networks that deliver drugs to cities and towns in Ireland, Northern Ireland, the UK and elsewhere in Europe, the Garda Siochana has forged particularly strong and productive relationships with law enforcement entities in many countries across a number of continents.

"Again today the Garda Siochana and the people of Ireland reap the benefits of the Garda Siochana’s outreach at a global level.

"Large quantities of drugs have been seized, along with a significant quantity of money suspected to be proceeds of drug trafficking. Persons believed to operate at a significant level within the world of organised crime have been identified and arrested. A drug trafficking route has been identified and disrupted and a new method of concealing controlled substances has been identified and exposed," Mr O'Driscoll added.


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