herald

Monday 20 August 2018

City home turned into drugs factory

seizure: Garda raid finds two guns

A LARGE cannabis grow house and two guns have been found at a derelict house in north Dublin.

Gardai from the Finglas drug unit made the discovery in the Glenties Park area of Finglas shortly after 2pm yesterday afternoon.

More than 100 cannabis plants with a street value of about €40,000, a handgun and a shotgun were discovered.

The house was converted for the purpose of growing cannabis plants.

Rooms were rigged up with lights, a cultivation system, air extractor fans and thermostats to create an atmosphere where the plants could thrive.

There were no arrests during the search that was part of Operation Nitrogen, set up to combat the rise in cannabis growing houses.

The weapons discovered in yesterday's raid have been sent to the Garda Technical Bureau for ballistic examination to determine whether they have been used in any gun attacks in the capital.

There was a 101.3pc increase in the number of recorded cases of cultivation or manufacture of drugs in 2010, due mainly to the detection work of garda drug units involved in Nitrogen.

In the past three years, several cannabis factories have been detected in houses, many along the border, where Asian gangs moved in to cultivate the plants.



Shipments

The recession has forced the big crime gangs into cannabis cultivation because of their need to "diversify" and raise sufficient cash to fund the purchase of major drug shipments.

A source told the Herald: "This is just another arm of the organised crime racket. The gangsters are like businessmen. They spot a new growth area and move in quickly to grab a profit."

The Chinese gangs were previously targeted in a series of operations by the London Metropolitan Police and other agencies in Britain.

They were forced to move first to Scotland, then to Northern Ireland and then here.

Irish gangs set up as gardai began dismantling the Chinese factories to cash in on the rise in popularity of herbal cannabis.

More than €7m worth of cannabis plants and herbal cannabis has been seized as part of Operation Nitrogen since last July.

hnews@herald.ie

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