Gardaí seize cocaine worth almost €4m worth of cocaine at Cork Harbour

Revenue officers found some 55 kgs of drug in in container from that arrived on a fruit ship from Ecuador

Customs officers and gardaí have seized almost €4 million worth of cocaine after searching a container that arrived at Ringaskiddy in Cork Harbour aboard a fruit ship coming from South America.

Revenue officers found some 55 kgs of cocaine with a street value of €3.85 million in an intelligence led operation with the Garda National Drugs and Organised Crime Bureau when they examined a container from Ecuador that came in on board a ship delivering fruit to Ireland.

“The illegal drugs were found with the assistance Revenue’s Maritime Unit, drug detector dog Merlin and Revenues Mobile X-ray Scanner concealed in the refrigeration unit of a maritime container which originated in Ecuador,” the Garda Press Office said in a statement.

According to a garda source, drugs smugglers are “piggybacking” on fruit ships bringing fruit produce such as bananas and pineapples from South America to Europe and it’s believed the seizure made on Friday came as a result of obtaining intelligence on such piggybacking operations.


It is the second such major seizure of Ringaskiddy in cocaine in recent years and follows the seizure of 172 kgs of cocaine with a street value of €12 million worth in a similar joint operation between Revenue and Gardaí in February 2021.

On that occasion, officers from the Garda’s Drugs and Organised Crime Bureau and Revenue’s Customs Service found the 172kg of cocaine during a search of a refrigerated container of fruit aboard the Maersk Nimes at Ringaskiddy Port.

On that occasion, Garda search teams and customs rummage teams, using an X-ray scanner and assisted by sniffer dog, Marley, uncovered the drugs after searching several of the 12m containers aboard the ship after she docked in Ringaskiddy.

The latest seizure on Friday was part of Revenue’s ongoing joint investigations targeting transnational organised crime and the importation, sale and supply of illegal drugs into Ireland and the European Union.

Garda Press appealed to the public for assistance and said that if businesses, or members of the public, have any information regarding drug smuggling, they can contact Revenue in confidence on Confidential Phone Number 1800 295 295.

Barry Roche

Barry Roche

Barry Roche is Southern Correspondent of The Irish Times