More than 100 arrested in drug raids

Wed, Nov 21, 2012, 00:00

Gardaí have arrested 113 people, carried out 236 searches, found five cannabis growhouses and seized plants worth an estimated €3.5 million in a co-ordinated operation across the State.

The raids yesterday represent the largest single move against the cannabis trade and are also among the largest ever raids against organised crime.

More than 50 people were arrested yesterday, with a similar number taken into custody this morning.

The majority of those arrested are Chinese. Gardaí believe the biggest drug gangs in the State are being led by Chinese and Vietnamese criminals, with the heads of their cartels based in other jurisdictions.

Operation Wireless II, targeting the largest growhouse gangs in the State, has been ongoing for a number of months, with the second phase resulting in the raids yesterday.

A total of 236 sites were searched. As well as the main focus on the cannabis growhouse sector, gardaí were also looking for evidence relating to the drug trade in general, firearms offences and the handling of stolen goods.

As well as the arrests made relating to the growhouse sector and other types of crime, gardaí also executed a European Arrest Warrant under which a man is to be sent to Poland for trial for a serious assault.

The searches took place in Dublin, Rathcormac, Cork, Clonroche, Wexford and Laytown. Some 4,200 cannabis plants were seized.

Those arrested are being held at Garda stations in Kells, Bray, Athlone, Mullingar, Galway, Claremorris, Castlerea, Tralee, Limerick, Fermoy, Cork, Waterford, Enniscorthy, Carlow and Dublin.