Cannabis worth €1m seized in two raids

GARDAÍ HAVE seized cannabis plants and specialist growing equipment with a combined value of almost €1 million in separate raids against two criminal networks in Co Laois and Co Louth.  Garda sources said the arrest of two Irish men is significant in that it adds to growing evidence Irish crime gangs are becoming involved in cannabis cultivation, which had been dominated here by Asian gangs until recently.  In the latest raid, at a house in Co Laois, members of the Garda National Drugs Unit discovered one of the largest growing operations ever found here.  An estimated 1,500 cannabis plants were found in the house in Kyletalesha, near Portlaoise, at 1am on Thursday.

The cannabis, which has an estimated street value of €600,000, was found growing in rooms in the rented house, kitted out with specialist intensive growing equipment.  Gardaí confiscated large high-wattage lamps which emit the intense light and heat the plants require. An irrigation system made up of a network of hoses running into each plant from the bathroom had also been set up, and the house had been fitted with ventilation units to pump the pungent air from the plants out of the house.  Gardaí have arrested three men and a woman in their 20s – two from Vietnam and two from Ireland.  They were taken to Tullamore Garda station for questioning under section 2 of the Drug Trafficking Act.   The seizure of the cannabis and the arrests were part of Operation Nitrogen, an ongoing dedicated investigation by the drugs unit into gangs running cannabis grow-houses nationwide.

In an earlier search under Operation Nitrogen, members of the drugs unit arrested a 43-year-old Vietnamese man at a property in Co Louth when a cannabis crop valued at €250,000 was found.  The estimated 500 plants were found in a house just outside the village of Collon that had been turned into a sophisticated growing operation.  The growing operation was in a garage attached to the detached house in a rural location a short distance from the village.  It appears the cannabis seeds were being germinated in the top half of the garage, while the seedlings were being cultivated in the lower half.  Water sprays, high-intensity lights and other equipment was also found.  The raid was carried out at 8pm on Wednesday. The man arrested was detained at Drogheda Garda station under section 2 of the Drug Trafficking Act.

In an unrelated operation, gardaí discovered 1kg of cannabis, worth €12,000, after they pulled over a car in a routine check on Thursday night in Galway city.The car’s three occupants – two men and a woman – were arrested. The three, with addresses in Galway city, were taken to Mill Street Garda station for questioning after the cannabis was found in the car boot.  The 23-year-old woman was released without charge yesterday.  One of the men, aged 30, has been charged under section three of the Misuse of Drugs Act.  The other, aged 25, has been charged under section 3 and 15 of the Act. Both were released yesterday evening.  Both men have been released on bail to appear before Galway District Court on October 10th.Gardaí confirmed the trio were apprehended after “a random traffic stop”.

via : Irish Times

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