Three held as African drug route smashed
By Tom Brady Security Editor
Saturday November 17 2007
THREE suspects were in custody last night after officials smashed a drugs trafficking route organised by a west African gang.
After an intelligence-gathering operation, Customs officers stopped a 28-year-old Scottish woman, they believed to be a courier, as she arrived at Dublin airport from South Africa, via Frankfurt in Germany.
After a search, they recovered 20kg of herbal cannabis, with a street value of €200,000, from the woman's suitcase.
Detectives from the national drugs unit searched a number of houses in Blanchardstown and found 4kg of cocaine and mixing agent as well as a quantity of cocaine pellets, which they believed had been brought internally into the country.
They also found traces of cocaine on luggage in the house, which they think was being used as a base for distribution by the gang.
A 29-year-old Nigerian man and a 32-year-old South African woman were also detained by the gardai.
All three were being questioned last night at Store Street garda station under drug trafficking legislation. They can be held for up to seven days.
Gardai said the seizures were part of a targeted operation against west African gangs, who link up with Irish traffickers and also use couriers from the Baltic states.
The seized cocaine has an estimated street value of around €250,000.
Gardai recently seized €210,000 of cocaine in Rathmines as part of the same operation and think there may also be links to a €1.75m cocaine seizure last year at the Five Lamps on Dublin's northside.
In a separate operation, Customs officers seized 1kg of cocaine worth €70,000 after a stopping a 30-year-old Polish passenger, who had arrived at Dublin airport on a flight from Brussels on Thursday.
The man was X-rayed and found to have been carrying 95 cocaine pellets internally. He was taken to Santry garda station for questioning.
And members of the garda drug unit at Raheny are questioning a man in his mid 30s. They searched his car on the Malahide Road and recovered 4kg of cocaine, worth €280,000.
- Tom Brady Security Editor