Thursday 25 April 2019

€10m cocaine seizure is latest blow for cartel

The seized cocaine was found among trays of pineapples
The seized cocaine was found among trays of pineapples

The Kinahan cartel may have been dealt a significant blow with the seizure of a €10m cocaine shipment bound for Ireland.

Drugs and Organised Crime Bureau detectives are liaising with other international forces on the inquiry into the seizure in Costa Rica.

A main line of inquiry is that the drugs were being imported by the Kinahan gang to the south coast, a source told the Herald last night.

The 133kg haul was discovered aboard the cargo ship Polar Chile in Port Moin in Limon, Costa Rica, last Tuesday.

The ship was due to dock in Cork later this week.

The seizure was made after Costa Rican officials received an anonymous phone tip-off and carried out a search.


Around €10m worth of cocaine was discovered in trays of pineapples on board the cargo ship. No arrests have yet been made and investigations are ongoing.

"Cocaine and cannabis importation into Ireland mainly have cartel involvement in some way," the source said.

"Whether the drugs were destined for the Irish market, the UK or Europe has not been established at this point and investigations are ongoing.

Detectives are also attempting to determine if the drug haul was being controlled by a UK associate of the cartel, and if the cocaine was to be transported to England after arriving in Cork, or distributed in Ireland.

Cartel leader Daniel Kinahan
Cartel leader Daniel Kinahan

Assistant Commissioner John O'Driscoll yesterday confirmed that gardai are investigating the role Irish criminals played in the transatlantic drug operation.

The senior garda, in charge of Special Crime Operations, said international cooperation is essential in targeting the criminal activity being engaged in by organised crime groups.

Over the weekend, gardai launched an operation in Dublin targeting street dealers working for the cartel, headed by Daniel Kinahan.

Almost €100,000 worth of cash and drugs was seized.

On Saturday afternoon, members of the Crumlin drug unit searched a house in the Drimnagh area as part of an ongoing investigation into drug dealing in the Dublin 12 area.

During the search, cocaine estimated to be worth about €64,000 and cannabis worth €14,000 were recovered.

A total of €7,500 in cash was seized on the suspicion of being the proceeds of crime.

A 25-year-old man was also arrested and was being questioned at Sundrive Road garda station last night.

Gardai believe that the drug and cash haul belonged to street level dealers who control a lucrative drug path in the Dublin 12 area on behalf of the Kinahan cartel's Dublin associates.

A number of young "up-and-coming" dealers have been identified by gardai in recent years as being the next generation of thugs dealing in the Crumlin and Drimnagh area.

In a separate operation against a UK gang, a number of Irish citizens were arrested after €18m worth of drugs were seized in Marbella. They were among 11 people arrested after the huge cannabis seizure on Spain's Costa Del Sol.

Spanish police seized almost seven tons of cannabis with a street value of €18m after smashing a British-led drugs gang.

The nine men and two women held by police also included British, Moroccan and Spanish nationals.

The number of British and Irish citizens held totals five, although police were not able to say yesterday how many of them were holders of Irish passports.

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