Gang leader on bail believed to be owner of €3 million drugs haul seized in Dublin

Garda-Revenue swoop nets 30kg of MDMA, 20kg of ketamine, cannabis worth €20,0000

A gang leader currently on bail on serious charges linked to organised crime is believed by the Garda to be the owner a €3 million drugs consignment seized in Dublin.

The MDMA, or ecstasy, and ketamine were discovered when a van was stopped and searched in Killester, north Dublin in one of the biggest seizures of MDMA, or ecstasy, in recent years.

The driver of the van, a 43-year-old from Dublin, was under surveillance as part of a joint Garda and Revenue Commissioners operation.

However, gardaí believe the arrested man was working for the gang leader from north Dublin who is regarded as a key target for many of Garda’s national units.


He is currently before the courts on serious charges and has long been a target of the Garda National Drugs & Organised Crime Bureau and the Criminal Assets Bureau.

The chief suspect is regarded as a ruthless operator who has been linked to both large scale drugs trafficking and armed robbery.

He is one of the most significant players in the Dublin underworld for over a decade and has been linked to several murders.

His gang was one of a number who grouped together to take on the Real IRA in Dublin when it was led by Alan Ryan. A feud between the dissidents and several gangs ensued and only ended when Ryan (32) from Donaghmede, was shot dead in September 2012.

The gang leader believed to own the drugs haul now seized lives in a middle class Dublin suburb in north Dublin.

Life under threat

He has been warned by the Garda his life is under threat from rival criminals. However, unlike many other Irish gang leaders he has opted to remain in Ireland rather than flee to Spain.

The consignment of illicit drugs seized on Tuesday which the arrested van driver was transporting had arrived in the Republic in freight via Dublin Port. The drugs were discovered during searches at the port.

However, rather than seize the drugs immediately a surveillance operation was put in place. The freight the 30kg of MDMA and 20kg of ketamine were in were then collected from the port by a driver.

The driver and his cargo was allowed to drive out of the port, under close covert surveillance. Gardaí were hopeful the driver would lead them to a higher value suspect.

However, after a period a decision was taken to move in on Tuesday afternoon and stop the van so the driver could be arrested and the drugs seized.

Inside the van was discovered 30kg of MDMA and 20kg of ketamine, with a combined estimated street value of €3 million.

In a follow-up operation, at a house nearby, a search yielded a quantity of herbal cannabis valued at €20,000.

The arrested man was taken for questioning to Raheny Garda station where he was still being questioned on Wednesday night.

The operation involved Revenue’s Customs Service and the Garda National Drugs & Organised Crime Bureau.

The 43-year-old suspect was arrested at the scene and is being questioned under section 2 of the Criminal Justice Drug Trafficking Act.

Conor Lally

Conor Lally

Conor Lally is Security and Crime Editor of The Irish Times