herald

Saturday 18 August 2018

Gardai suspended after cocaine swoop near courts

DETECTIVES are investigating a possible garda cocaine ring as a second officer was suspended from the force today.

The two-man crew of a garda patrol car have now been suspended after one of them was caught buying cocaine on his way to a party.

A third officer, a woman, who was with the pair has been cleared of any involvement. She was unaware the two were involved in drugs activity.

The focus of the investigation now is whether other officers were aware of the rogue garda’s activities.

Investigators suspect the uniformed officer – the son of a former drugs squad detective – had links to crime gangs in Ballymun and the north inner city.

It is feared he may have been passing on confidential information to the criminals in return for cash and drugs.

Although he was based in the south city where the 'Fat' Freddie Thompson gang is based, he is not thought to have been involved in that gang.

The suspension of the two garda partners, who crewed a city patrol car, has sent shockwaves through the force.

They were questioned after being put under surveillance by the National Bureau of Criminal Investigation at Harcourt Square. The first officer was arrested on Ormond Quay after buying eight ounces of cocaine with a street value of around €800 from a criminal figure close to the Dublin courts.

His partner and the female garda were in a nearby pub at the time. He and his colleague were on their way to a party when he was arrested.

Officers have compared the case to the Garda John O'Neill affair. O'Neill was thrown off the force when he was found to be supplying confidential information for money to the John Gilligan crime gang. O'Neill was convicted of the offence.

Supplier

The officer who is the main focus of the current case was arrested on Monday. He has since been released without charge and a file has been sent to the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP).

His suspected supplier, arrested on Monday, was also released without charge and a file has been prepared for the DPP. The second garda was informed of his suspension yesterday afternoon.

He had not been detained for questioning although he had been interviewed. No other gardai from the station affected have been interviewed yet as part of the investigation.

The arrest on Monday followed a protracted investigation by the National Bureau of Criminal Investigation following intelligence that a garda was involved in illegal narcotics.

Checks

Detectives from the force's Internal Affairs Unit are trawling the force's computer system -- Pulse -- to check what records the officers have accessed.

The checks are being carried out amid fears that the garda who was nabbed taking part in an alleged drugs transaction, may have provided information to various criminals

"There are a number of serious criminals, many linked to the Thompson gang, active in this officer's district but his links were with other gangs," a source said.

"There are concerns that this garda may have had contact with such individuals, particularly in the north inner city and the Ballymun area," the source added.

hnews@herald.ie

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