Monday, 2 July 2007

Suspected drug gang chief held

Suspected drug gang chief held
Ruthless group linked to raid which smashed major operation

Monday July 02 2007

THE suspected second-in-command of one of Dublin's feuding drugs gangs was in custody last night after gardai claimed they had broken up an international drugs supply route into the country.

Drugs with a street value of up to €3.5m were seized in the garda search at an industrial estate in west Dublin.

Some 420 kilos of herbal cannabis, 10 kilos of cocaine, a gun and ammunition were seized in the raid, and gardai believe it is indicative of the huge amounts of drugs being imported into the country.

The herbal cannabis was found in 420 vacuum packed bags and a 9mm Beretta handgun and a quantity of ammunition were also found during the search.

Depending on the purity of the drugs, the slabs of cocaine that were also recovered could have a street value of between €700,000 and €1m.

The seizure is part of an ongoing operation between gardai and members of several UK and European police forces.

"It's a joint police operation involving forces from our own country, the UK and Europe," Inspector Jerry Bergin, who is leading the investigation, said yesterday.

The amount was substantial and gardai were satisfied it had resulted in a major interruption of the flow of cannabis and other drugs into the country.

"It's a significant seizure and it's maybe a reflection also of the amount of cannabis and cocaine that is being imported," he said.

A man in his 20s who was arrested in connection with the raid is believed to be the second-in-command of one of the feuding Crumlin-Drimnagh gangs.

Since the feud erupted in violence in August 2001, 11 people have been killed.

Six of the deaths have been straight tit-for-tat murders between the rival factions who have grown into major cocaine dealers.

Another three murders were internal killings over drugs within the two gangs.

- Fergus Black and Jason O'Brien

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