herald

Monday 24 June 2019

Drugs, ammo and grenade found in soldier home raid

Gardai acting on intelligence raided the house
Gardai acting on intelligence raided the house

A soldier was caught with a large stash of Viagra, illicit drugs, ammunition and a smoke grenade when gardai raided his west Dublin home.

The 25-year-old was still being questioned at Tallaght Garda Station last night after the raid in Clondalkin which ironically led to gardai calling out the army bomb disposal team to the serving soldier's home.

Detectives are probing whether the material recovered during the bust had been stolen from the soldier's employers.

Sources have revealed that the suspect is based at a barracks in Dublin and the raid happened after he came to the attention of the drugs unit gardai based at Tallaght Garda Station in recent weeks.

When they raided the property, they found what has been described as an "Aladdin's Cave" of illicit material.

This included over 700 Viagra tablets, three small bags of cocaine, a quantity of ecstasy tablets, steroids, a large collection of unknown tablets and other powder substances.

But apart from all the drugs, gardai also discovered two bullets, a phosphorus smoke grenade and flash charges.

GRENADE

It is believed that these three items are all Irish Army issue. A smoke grenade is used for concealment purposes and flash charges can omit a blinding flash which can stun a person.

It is not known why the soldier had the grenade or bullets and sources say that he was not previously known to gardai for involvement in crime.

"The reason why this raid happened is because he had come to the attention of gardai in Tallaght for low level drug dealing and officers really did not expect to find such a stash in the house.

"After the discovery, gardai requested the army bomb disposal team to come out to the house to look at the material but it was later given back to investigating gardai," a source explained.

It is believed that the soldier is now likely to face disciplinary proceedings from the army regardless of what criminal charges may be brought against him in relation to the raid.

Although rare, a number of defence forces personnel have ended up in major trouble with the law over the years because of their involvement in crime.

Last July, a 29-year-old Irish soldier was sentenced to three years in jail at Donegal Circuit Court after pleading guilty to possession of an improvised explosive device, a firearm and 87 rounds of ammunition at an apartment in Burnfoot, Co Donegal, on February 17.

Private Mark Cassidy was serving at Finner Camp in Donegal at the time.

In 2008, a Dublin soldier was investigated for handling firearms for gangs involved in a deadly city feud and a former female officer, who is based in Tallaght, was probed by detectives last year in relation to the manufacture of pipe bombs.

The 25-year-old in garda custody is not known to any of these other individuals.

kfoy@herald.ie

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