'Head shop' drugs seized in Letterkenny
Revenue’s Customs Service and the Garda have made another substantial seizure of synthetic psychoactive drugs that were banned two years ago under legislation that closed most of the State’s head shops.
Customs officers identified as suspect a parcel that had entered the State from China. Gardaí were called in and a controlled delivery of the parcel was made to the intended address in Letterkenny, Co Donegal, on Tuesday.
When a 28-year-old man took delivery of the drugs he was arrested and detained at Letterkenny Garda station under section 2 of the Criminal Justice (Drug Trafficking) Act. The parcel contained 4kg of the drug 4-Methylethcathinone, also known as 4-MEC. It had an estimated street value of €140,000.
The drug is a synthetic stimulant similar to the mephedrone, which was sold in headshops as “snow blow”, or synthetic cocaine.
The seizure in Donegal follows a similar seizure of psychoactive drugs valued at almost €800,000 in Waterford in September.
Security sources said the route of the parcel seized in Donegal, which came via the postal service and originated in China, is typical of an increasing number of items of post being found to contain banned psychoactive drugs.
In 2011, the first full year in which synthetic drugs and the head shops that sold them were banned, Customs seized 101 parcels containing the drugs. In the first nine months of 2012, that figure had jumped to 697 cases.
Those familiar with the problem say the frequency of seizures is increasing and that the 2012 annual total is expected to exceed 1,000.