Gardai arrest 80 as crackdown smashes two drugs networks
Sting operation targets street suppliers
By Tom Brady
Friday July 03 2009
TWO major drugs distribution networks have been smashed by a five-month garda operation, which netted 80 suspected street dealers of heroin and cocaine.
More than a hundred premises were searched by gardai over the past two days as part of the crackdown on the sale and supply of drugs in Dublin's inner city.
The operation resulted in the arrest of 72 men and eight women and all have since appeared before the District Court on charges of supplying serious controlled drugs, mainly heroin and cocaine.
The massive garda operation, codenamed Feeder, was spearheaded by the Garda National Drugs Unit and also involved personnel from Pearse Street, Kilmainham and Store Street stations, as well as district drug units throughout the Dublin metropolitan region.
Feeder concentrated on street dealing between the two canals in the centre of the capital, but focused mainly on the activities of suspected members of two significant gangs.
Key areas under observation since the operation began in February included a number of inner-city flat complexes, including the Oliver Bond and Dolphin House areas on the southside.
Undercover detectives took to the streets to identify potential dealers initially and then purchased small quantities of drugs from them to provide evidence in court. The results of the 'sting' operation were then studied by senior officers before the search and arrest phase was launched this week.
A senior garda officer said that the main targets of Feeder were the personnel involved in the dealing, rather than seizures of large supplies of drugs.
"These people may not be in the first tier of drug gang bosses, but they pose a very significant threat at local level and can cause a lot of harm in the areas where they operate," he added.
Acknowledging the work of those involved in the operation, Garda Commissioner Fachtna Murphy said last night his force was committed to tackling the supply of drugs at all levels.
"We will continue to work with other agencies and communities in tackling the drug problem throughout the country," Mr Murphy added.
Feeder is the latest in a series of special garda operations that began in 1997 targeted at street-level criminality. Other operations included several phases of Cleanstreet, which also focused mainly around the city centre, Marigold in the west city, and Accessory in the northside suburbs.
Gardai have been fighting an ongoing battle to eliminate drug trafficking at Dolphin House, where dealers have been waging a campaign of intimidation against residents who oppose them.
Some of the dealers live in the south inner-city complex, but others are based in Tallaght while carrying out their trafficking in the Dolphin's Barn and Rialto area.
- Tom Brady