Major city drugs figure is among 60 arrested in three-county heroin blitz
A notorious criminal was one of 26 men arrested in Dublin's south inner city as part of an investigation into heroin-dealing called Operation Tempest.
The Herald has learned that the 28-year-old, who has more than 70 previous convictions, was given a suspended sentence last year for possession of heroin and cocaine for sale or supply after a previous operation by drugs squad detectives.
He was previously caught after selling drugs to undercover gardai.
Following this, he became one of the main targets of a six-month investigation in the capital which was codenamed Operation Tempest and was run with similar operations in Wexford town and Cork.
Det Chief Supt Michael O'Sullivan of the Drugs and Organised Crime Bureau revealed details of the investigation at a press conference at which he said he expects there will be a "serious shortage" of heroin in the coming weeks in the capital's south inner city because of the garda operation.
"The Dublin arrestsoccurred following a lengthy operation initiated by Kevin Street gardai to disrupt the activity of an organised drug distribution network operating in this area," a garda spokesman said.
"All 26 of the suspects arrested in Dublin were male. This search and arrest operation is the second phase of Operation Tempest, which saw the arrest of 45 individuals and over 100 drug supply charges in Dublin's north inner city last year."
Gardai also arrested 16 men and nine women in Cork city as part of an investigation called Operation Emerson, as well as seven men and two women aged from 22 to 61 in Wexford, where a family gang was targeted.
In a 48-hour period earlier this week, more than 100 gardai in Dublin, Wexford and Cork were involved in the arrest phase of these operations.
Searches were carried out at more than 50 residential addresses by drug unit personnel supported by Regional Support Units, detective units, dog units and the Drug and Organised Crime Bureau, a garda spokesman said
Chief Supt O'Sullivan said gardai have received "great co-operation" from local communities during their six-month operation against heroin dealers which involved "covert and overt surveillance".
"Sixty people will now go before the courts to face serious charges regarding the supply of drugs on a persistent basis within these areas," he said.