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Thursday 8 December 2016

Gardai seize heroin worth €150k from bouncy castle owner

The 1kg of heroin which was seized by gardai
The 1kg of heroin which was seized by gardai

A bouncy castle operator was dealt a serious blow by gardai when they seized €150,000 worth of heroin during a raid.

Senior gardai suspect the Irish businessman, who has made large sums from the children's entertainment business, is the owner of the drugs.

The man has been described as a respectable character by sources.

On Tuesday night, officers attached to the Special Crime Task Force and assisted by members of the Drugs and Organised Crime Bureau carried out a raid in the Foxbourgh estate in Lucan - an area which has no connections to the bouncy castle owner - shortly before 11pm.

During the operation, the armed units recovered over 1kg of heroin stored in a bag in the property.

Intelligence

A 49-year-old woman was arrested at the scene and is currently being questioned at Ronanstown Garda Station.

The woman is not believed to be a major player in organised crime and was holding the drugs at the time of the raid.

The businessman has been a target of regional and national units across the country for some time but does not have any major previous convictions.

Gardai are investigating how long the bouncy castle owner had the heroin and where it was sourced from.

They are also investigating how he intended to move it to street dealers lower down the criminal chain.

The raid was carried out after the Special Crime Task Force received intelligence of drugs being stored at the property. The operation is the most recent conducted by the newly-established unit targeting organised crime.

In the last two weeks alone the task force, along with the Drugs and Organised Crime Bureau, have seized over €2m worth of drugs, a number of firearms and approximately €800,000 in cash.

The operations have targeted several different organised crime gangs both in the capital and surrounding counties.

On Saturday gardai seized over €100k in cash after stopping a truck at junction 4 on the M50 near Ballymun.

The money is understood to be linked to a south Dublin gang and was in transit during a drug payment run.

The previous week the elite units stopped a car on the Nangor Road in Clondalkin and discovered over €200k in cash. Other raids have recovered lethal firearms, including a Mac-10 machine pistol which was found in an apartment complex in Castlenock, west Dublin.

In a separate raid on a property on Botanic Avenue, Drumcondra, a Baikal handgun was seized.

The Special Crime Task Force was launched last month to target organised crime gangs in the east of the country.

It is headed by the Drugs and Organised Crime Bureau (DOCB), but six divisional asset profilers on the unit also liaise with the Criminal Assets Bureau.

The hand-picked unit also includes one det inspector, six sergeants and 30 gardai.

Violence

Det Supt Tony Howard of the DOCB previously said that the level of violence being used by criminal gangs currently involved in gangland feuding was staggering.

"Certainly, when we look at people being murdered in the streets of Dublin as callously as they have been, and the same being repeated in Spain, we are naturally worried," said Det Supt Howard.

"We would liaise with our colleagues, not just in Ireland and England but also in mainland Europe, with Europol and with Interpol.

"We share a lot of intelligence and information and we help each other."

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