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Gardaí seize €35million worth of cocaine hidden in 2,000 bags of charcoal in shipping containers

The half-tonne shipment of drugs was on its way from South America destined for Europe

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The shipment of coal believed to contain up to 500 kilos of cocaine. Photo: Gardaí.

The shipment of coal believed to contain up to 500 kilos of cocaine. Photo: Gardaí.

The shipment of coal believed to contain up to 500 kilos of cocaine. Photo: Gardaí.

The shipment of coal believed to contain up to 500 kilos of cocaine. Photo: Gardaí.

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The shipment of coal believed to contain up to 500 kilos of cocaine. Photo: Gardaí.

Gardaí believe they have seized a consignment of a half a tonne of cocaine from South America destined for Ireland and Europe worth up to €35m.

The shipment was concealed as charcoal and Gardaí from the National Drugs & Organised Crime Bureau say there were up to 2,000 bags in the shipping containers.

Gardaí believe an attempt was being made by an organised crime group to import up to half a tonne of cocaine into Ireland. Following ongoing liaison with relevant law enforcement authorities in The Netherlands, An Garda Síochána took possession of two shipping containers that arrived a number of weeks ago, at Rotterdam Port.

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The shipment of charcoal believed to contain up to 500 kilos of cocaine. Photo: Gardaí.

The shipment of charcoal believed to contain up to 500 kilos of cocaine. Photo: Gardaí.

The shipment of charcoal believed to contain up to 500 kilos of cocaine. Photo: Gardaí.

The containers were transported to Ireland by sea and were brought ashore under armed escort at Dublin Port.

Gardaí said an inspection of the containers for “anomalies” in the bags of charcoal and Forensic Science Ireland confirmed the presence of cocaine.

“Initial examination undertaken by the FSI would tend to confirm the suspicion held by the Garda Síochána that the two shipping containers may have been used in an attempt to transport up to half of a tonne of cocaine into Ireland,” a Garda spokesperson said.

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“In the event that the full consignment of cocaine has been discovered, it has a potential street sale value of up to €35 million. However, it will take a number of days and perhaps longer for FSI to extract the cocaine from the product within which it is concealed.”

Gardaí anticipate a number of suspects will be arrested in the “near future”.

Assistant Commissioner John O’Driscoll, who is assigned to Organised and Serious Crime within the Garda Síochána, said it was “a significant development” in the Garda Síochána’s effort to disrupt and dismantle organised crime groups suspected to be involved in the importation of cocaine and other drugs into Ireland.

“This operation, in which the Garda Drugs & Organised Crime Bureau is taking a lead role, has a significant international dimension and again emphasises the importance of cooperation within the law enforcement community within Europe and further afield”.


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