Over 400 now in garda drug war frontline
OVER 400 gardai are being deployed here in the war on drugs.
The size of the Garda National Drug Unit and divisional drug units across that State now totals 416 officers, according to the Department of Justice.
While divisional drug units target the sale and supply in their particular area, the GNDU is charged with monitoring the activities of major drug dealers and traffickers.
Almost 150 gardai are involved in divisional drug units in the drug hotspots of Dublin and Limerick alone.
The GNDU contains 52 gardai specifically charged with monitoring the activities of the country's drug barons.
In recent times the garda drug units have been involved in massive undercover operations to thwart the activities of low to middle ranking dealers on the streets. A recent blitz against street drug dealers will see more than 20 suspects appear in court in the Bray district in the coming weeks.
The Bray dealers face more than 50 charges in connection with the possession for sale and supply of drugs in the seaside town.
The blitz was ordered as part of a nationwide operation against street dealers which has already led to hundreds of arrests in Dublin and Limerick.
Bray gardai say the suspects were arrested for "involvement in the sale and supply of heroin and cannabis".
A spokesman said: "In excess of 50 charges have or will be preferred against those arrested." He added that the arrests followed a nine-month covert policing operation which has dismantled significant drug distribution networks operating in north Wicklow.
Similar undercover operations targeting heroin street dealers have had significant successes.
Operations Reagent and Marshall led to the arrest of 82 mid-level ranking members of drug trafficking gangs in Dublin last year.
During Operation Kelso in Limerick, undercover gardai purchased heroin on 40 occasions and in February, 36 people were arrested.
These operations involve gardai infiltrating gangs across the supply line, buying deals, identifying suspects and building files of evidence until they were ready to bring them to court.