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Swoop catches drug smugglers napping

THis garda photograph shows how a west Dublin gang tried to smuggle cannabis into the country -- in hollowed-out bedposts.

The drugs are part of a €2m haul of cannabis discovered hidden in a shipment of bed headboards and posts.

It was the biggest cannabis shipment found this year.

The haul was discovered when gardai stopped a van at Arran Quay in Dublin city centre and detected the haul with the aid of high-tech scanners.

A further consignment of cannabis was discovered in a follow up search of a warehouse in an industrial estate in Rathcoole, Co Dublin.

A senior garda officer said: "This was a very elaborate concealment and the drugs were not found until we brought in the scanners.

"At first glance, the headboards and bed posts appeared to be part of a genuine shipment. But the boards had been fitted with a false backing and the cannabis resin had been carefully packaged and taped inside."

After an initial examination of the van's contents, gardai enlisted the help of Customs, who supplied them with sophisticated scanning equipment. A haul of about 230kg of cannabis was found hidden in the shipment.

The Garda National Drugs United later raided a warehouse in the Greenogue industrial estate and found another 40kg of the drug.

The 270kg of drugs with a street value of nearly €1.9m is believed to have been destined for sale and distribution on the west Dublin market.

Three men arrested as part of the seizure were being questioned by detectives today after the intelligence-led operation.

mlavery@herald.ie