Four arrested in Cork after discovery of ‘elaborate’ cocaine laboratory

Gardaí believe operation was set up to extract cocaine hidden in fabric and sell it in the run up to Christmas

Gardaí in West Cork have arrested three men and a woman following the discovery of an elaborate drugs laboratory. Photograph: Frank Miller

Gardaí in West Cork have arrested three men and a woman following the discovery of an elaborate drugs laboratory. Photograph: Frank Miller

 

Gardaí in West Cork have arrested three men and a woman following the discovery of an elaborate drugs laboratory set up to recover cocaine hidden in fabric for supply to the Christmas market.

Members of the West Cork Divisional Drugs Squad and the Bantry Drugs Squad uncovered the elaborate laboratory when they raided a house in Bantry town at around 10pm on Sunday.

Three men and a woman were arrested at the scene, and quantities of cocaine and equipment were recovered from a number of rooms converted into laboratories.

It is understood the drugs operation involved the importation of fabric impregnated with cocaine and the removal of the cocaine from the fabric through a chemical process to liquefy the drug.

The next stage of the process involved the conversion of the liquid cocaine back to a crystalline powder for distribution and sale in the Cork market in the run up to Christmas

Detectives recovered cocaine in all three forms - contained within fabric, in liquid and in crystalline form and all three have been sent to the Forensic Science Ireland laboratory in Dublin for analysis.

The intelligence led operation also involved customs officers whose expertise and experience in tracing imports was central to the discovery of the illegal laboratory.

Gardaí say that because the drug is in three forms that it has been not possible to put a value on the seizure until each batch has been analysed and the exact quantity of cocaine is tallied.

Two of the men are from the Dublin area while the third man and the woman are from Cork . Two have been detained at Bantry Garda Station and two have been detained at Bandon Garda Station.

All four have been detained under Section 2 of the Drugs Trafficking Act which allows gardaí detain suspects for up to seven days before they have to be charged or released.