Gardai seize cannabis and cocaine with estimated value of several million Euro

Handout photos dated 15/11/17 issued by An Garda S'och!na of drugs seized from the National Drugs & Organised Crime Bureau and the Special Crime Task Force during searches in Co. Meath as part of an ongoing international investigation
Handout photos dated 15/11/17 issued by An Garda S'och!na of drugs seized from the National Drugs & Organised Crime Bureau and the Special Crime Task Force during searches in Co. Meath as part of an ongoing international investigation

A multimillion-euro haul of cannabis and cocaine has been seized by gardai.

The drugs were recovered in two raids in Ashbourne, Co Meath as part of an international operation.

Garda dog unit at the scene in Ashbourne, Co Meath after a police raid where a multimillion-euro haul of cannabis and cocaine was seized

Garda dog unit at the scene in Ashbourne, Co Meath after a police raid where a multimillion-euro haul of cannabis and cocaine was seized

Two men in their 30s were arrested, gardai said.

Assistant Commissioner John O’ Driscoll, who is in the Netherlands for meetings with Dutch counterparts and others, said: “The Garda National Drugs & Organised Crime Bureau has brought to fruition an operation targeting drug trafficking, which has an international dimension.

“This has resulted in a significant seizure of cannabis herb and cocaine and the arrest of a number of suspects.

“Action in this jurisdiction has been coordinated with action being undertaken by international law enforcement authorities.”

An exact value has not been put on the massive haul of drugs but it has been estimated to run to several million euro.

Assistant Commissioner John O’Driscoll is in The Netherlands meeting Dutch law enforcement personnel and law enforcement personnel from other jurisdictions.

Officers from the Garda National Drugs and Organised Crime Bureau and the Special Crime Task Force were involved in the operation which involved searches at two premises on Wednesday and is ongoing.

The drugs were linked to the Kinahan crime cartel which is alleged to have operations in Spain and Ireland and other countries and has been embroiled in a bitter gangland war which has claimed at least 10 lives.

Justice Minister Charlie Flanagan said: “The illicit drugs trade is a highly destructive international business and I am pleased to see An Garda Siochana continuing to partner effectively with law enforcement in other jurisdictions.

“This seizure is very significant and results from a great deal of painstaking work. I want to congratulate all those involved for their professionalism and dedication to duty.

“The effective policing operation will prevent these drugs from reaching the streets and harming individuals, families and communities.”

Other aspects of the planned international police operation are expected to be released later.

Follow-up searches were carried out in Dublin under Operation Thistle, which targets the Kinahan network on the ground.

Three people were arrested and a quantity of drugs, believed to be heroin, was seized along with a number of weapons and suspected replica firearms, gardai said.

Several thousand euro in cash was also recovered.

Meanwhile, in Amsterdam five people were arrested as Dutch police cracked down on associates of the gang, a spokesman in the Netherlands confirmed.