Value of drug hauls to surpass €100m
on 22/09/2012 00:00:00
Official figures show that €59.3m worth of drugs were analysed by the State Forensic Science Laboratory in the first half of this year.
Releasing the details, junior minister Kathleen Lynch said this did not include a number of significant seizures made towards the end of that period which had not yet been analysed.
She said this included the seizure of 400kgs of cocaine in Dublin and Kildare last June, which she said was the largest ever inland seizure of the drug in this jurisdiction.
The haul, valued at €28m, followed a probe into organised crime by the Garda National Drug Unit and Customs.
Garda data since then indicates seizures worth at least a further €7.8m have been recovered.
This includes €3m worth of cannabis plants from growhouses and €3.6m of cannabis resin and herb.
Individual seizures in recent months include:
* €2.6m worth of herbal cannabis and cannabis resin on Jul 21 in Dublin;
* €800,000 worth of synthetic amphetamines in Waterford City on Sept 17;
* €730,000 worth of cannabis plants in Galway on Jul 14.
In the last week alone, gardaí seized cannabis plants worth €300,000 in Roscommon, €105,000 worth of cocaine in Dublin, and cannabis herb and resin worth €630,000 in Limerick.
This year's haul compares to a total figure of around €65m in 2011, which marked a jump on €28m in 2010, and €42m in 2009.
The record totals in 2008 (€205m) and 2007 (€169m) were skewed as a result of massive hauls of cocaine, around 1.5 tonnes in both years, along the Cork coast.
Gardaí believe those consignments, each valued in the region of €105m, were bound for Britain, with one transiting through Ireland, while the other ran aground.
Excluding those hauls would bring the annual totals for those years to €100m and €64m respectively.
The previous year, 2006, saw a total haul valued at over €90m.
"Seizure figures should always be treated with some caution," said a senior garda source, "but they do represent in some way what is happening out there, and we are seeing a big growth in the amount of stuff being captured".
Responding to a question from Fianna Fáil's Barry Cowen, Ms Lynch said that 11,263 drug offences and 9,743 related offences were detected between January and August this year.
"Specific strategies have been put in place by An Garda Síochána to address the sale, supply, importation and distribution of illegal drugs, and this approach continues to result in significant drug seizures and the related arrests of those involved in drug trafficking," said Ms Lynch.