Serving gardaí are suspects in drugs trade investigation

Cannabis, cash and phones discovered in coordinated operation on Wednesday

The man arrested on Wednesday is a former senior officer in the force who moved up the Garda ranks quickly. Photograph: Collins

The man arrested on Wednesday is a former senior officer in the force who moved up the Garda ranks quickly. Photograph: Collins

 

A criminal investigation into the drugs trade in Dublin is centred on the alleged involvement of former and current members of the Garda.

While one former senior ranking member of the Garda was arrested on Wednesday, The Irish Times has learned that serving members of the force are also under suspicion as part of the same investigation.

Some searches already carried out as part of the investigation have targeted a small number of serving Garda members, though nothing has emerged publicly about those searches before now.

Investigators are trying to establish if several serving members of the Garda aided the retired former Garda officer to secure information about Garda operations that was then allegedly passed on to a crime gang to help them evade justice.

However, no findings or any wrongdoing, criminal or disciplinary, have been arrived at against any current or former members of the force. News of the inquiry has shocked members of the Garda.

The man arrested on Wednesday is a former senior officer in the force who moved up the ranks very quickly and was well-known and well-liked. He was regarded as a rising star of the Garda and secured repeated promotions.

He now stands accused of aiding a crime gang by supplying information to them, though no findings have been made against him and the allegations are not proven. The Garda investigation that resulted in his arrest is now closely examining his recent activities to determine what serving Garda members he has been in contact with.

Sources stressed the arrested man had many friends and contacts in the Garda as he served in the force from the time he was a very young man until he was middle aged, adding only a very small number of those contacts were now under suspicion. No serving member of the force has been arrested as part of the investigation but serving members are now under suspicion, Garda sources said.

On Wednesday members of the Garda National Bureau of Criminal Investigation, the Garda’s serious crimes squad, carried out “an organised crime-related operation” during which five properties were searched.

About 30kg of cannabis, valued at €600,000, and €47,000 in cash was seized and the retired Garda officer was arrested for questioning. The former Garda officer was arrested “on suspicion of involvement in offences contrary to the provisions of section 72 of the Criminal Justice Act, 2006, relating to allegedly enhancing the ability of a criminal organisation to commit or facilitate a serious offence”.

That man was detained at Irishtown Garda Station under Section 50 of the Criminal Justice Act, which is used in the detention and questioning of those suspected of organised crime offences and under which suspects can be held for up to seven days without charge.

As well as the drugs and cash found, it is also understood other items including mobile phones were taken away for examination. They will be examined to establish if serving Garda members were being contacted on those devices, as well as the nature and frequency of any such contacts.