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Saturday 21 October 2017

Cartel hit hard as €37.5m drug shipment seized by gardai at port

Gardai at Dublin Port, where the drugs were seized
Gardai at Dublin Port, where the drugs were seized

The Kinahan cartel has been dealt a massive blow after almost €40m of drugs were seized at Dublin Port.

In total, 1,873kg of cannabis herb was recovered, following a lengthy intelligence-led operation.

The drugs, which were seized shortly after 2pm yesterday, have an estimated street value of €37.5m.

The Herald can reveal the drugs were sourced by the Kinahan cartel and originated in South Africa.

It can also be revealed the massive cannabis haul was hidden in mechanical tractor parts when it was recovered.

Surveillance

The shipment had been kept under surveillance by gardai for almost a week before it was seized. No arrests have yet been made but gardai are satisfied that the drugs belonged to the Kinahan cartel.

Yesterday's seizure involved a lengthy operation by Revenue's customs service and the Garda Drugs and Organised Crime Bureau (DOCB).

Gardai believe only a small number of gangs would have the resources to import such a large drugs shipment, but that this particular consignment was sourced by Christy Kinahan Snr's associates.

"These drugs belong to the cartel, there is no question about that. Only two, possibly three, other Irish criminal enterprises would be able to source such a large importation of drugs," a source said.

"The cartel would act as a wholesaler for other drug gangs across the country, as well as supplying their own dealers.

"The drugs originated from South Africa, which shows Daniel Kinahan's vast number of direct contacts," the source added.

It is a further blow to the cartel, which is currently involved in a deadly feud with the Hutch gang. The feud - which has so far claimed 11 lives - has led to major disruptions to the Kinahan cartel's daily operations.

Drugs Strategy Minister Catherine Byrne last night congratulated gardai and Revenue officials on the operation.

"This is further proof of the good work of Garda officers and their colleagues in Revenue in the ongoing battle against drugs in our capital city and country," she said.

The seizure is the largest recovery of cannabis herb in the history of the State.

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