Heroin valued at €12.3m found hidden in cherry-picker at Rosslare Europort

Haul of 88kg is of one the largest of the drug ever intercepted in Ireland

Heroin with an estimated value of €12.3 million has been seized in Co Wexford after being found hidden in plant machinery at Rosslare Europort.

The 88kg haul is one of the largest of the drug ever intercepted in the State, and its size led Revenue officers and gardaí to suspect it may not all have been destined for the Irish market.

Garda sources said a Dublin-based crime gang that has expanded since the Kinahan cartel’s Irish operation has come under extreme pressure from the authorities would have the capacity to purchase such a large volume of heroin.

The seizure followed a major international operation with Revenue’s Customs officers centrally involved. Based on the intelligence available, a truck and low-loader carrying plant machinery was selected for inspection on the dockside in Rosslare as it disembarked a ferry that had arrived from continental Europe.


A suspected consignment of drugs was identified within the main body of a cherry-picker sitting on the low-loader when it was scanned using an X-ray machine.

During a closer inspection by Revenue officers, assisted by detector dogs Sam and Flynn and their handlers, parcels of drugs wrapped in plastic were found concealed inside a section of the iron casing on the cherry picker.

"Investigations are ongoing with the assistance of the Garda National Drugs and Organised Crime Bureau and in collaboration with international law enforcement partners," Revenue said. "This seizure is part of Revenue's ongoing operations targeting the importation of illegal drugs."

Plant machinery

Nick Gilligan, principal officer with Revenue's investigation, prosecution and frontier management division, said the seizure was part of a wider international investigation into the trafficking of heroin by hiding it in plant machinery.

"We profiled such movements coming into Ireland and moving out, and in conjunction with our international colleagues we had highlighted and profiled this particular consignment coming in," he told RTÉ's News at One.

Mr Gilligan added that the international investigation was continuing, and he was hopeful other similar seizures would be made by law enforcement agencies as part of the operation.

Drug and cash seizures hit record highs last year, and the trend has continued so far this year with a series of major consignments of illicit drugs and cash having been confiscated from organised crime gangs since the pandemic began.

Conor Lally

Conor Lally

Conor Lally is Security and Crime Editor of The Irish Times