Eastern European drug gang targeted in € 1.18m cannabis bust


An Eastern European criminal gang that operated a drug smuggling ring across Leinster was the target of a joint Garda and customs operation that led to the seizure of cannabis worth 1.18 million euros.

Two male suspects between the ages of 20 and 40 are currently being held at Kilkenny Garda station where they are being questioned under anti-drug trafficking legislation.

The older man is well known to Gardaí and worked as a legitimate courier in the South East for several years.

Sources say that during this job he found himself embroiled in a “bitter conflict which ended up being of a criminal nature” with other couriers in Eastern Europe.

“Since then he has become involved in a fairly large organized criminal group,” a source said.

The courier was arrested yesterday in Kilkenny. It is suspected that he was on his way to recover the massive drug shipment that had already been seized by customs officials in a local industrial area as part of a surveillance operation that followed the drugs after the entry of cannabis into Ireland.

Gardaí announced the details of the seizure today.

“On Thursday, October 7, 2021, in the context of ongoing investigations targeting people suspected of being involved in an organized criminal group operating in the Kilkenny region, a joint operation was carried out by staff attached to the customs service and at the Garda National Drugs & Organized Crime. Bureau (GNDOCB), ”said a spokesperson.

“During this operation, 59 kg of cannabis with an estimated market value of € 1,180,000 were seized by tax officials.

“Gardaí arrested a man in his twenties at the scene and he is currently being held at Kilkenny Garda train station.

“A vehicle was then stopped in the Kilkenny region and Gardaí arrested a man in his 40s. He is also being held at Kilkenny Garda station.

“Both men are detained under section 2 of the Criminal Justice (Drug Trafficking) Act 1996”.


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