The drug trade in Galway and the west received a major blow this week after gardai intercepted a car containing cocaine with a street value of up to €2 million and arrested a Limerick drug dealer described as a “significant player”.
In a follow-up operation two houses were searched in the Moycullen area of Galway where €100,000 in cash, believed to be the proceeds of drugs, was found in one of the premises.
A 39-year-old man, originally from Limerick but now living in Galway, was arrested on Tuesday as a result of a joint operation of the Garda National Drugs Unit, Galway gardai, and Revenue’s Customs Service.
The car in which the man was travelling was stopped on the outskirts of Gort as part of investigations into organised crime gangs in Galway and Limerick.
It is believed that a package containing seven kilos of high-grade cocaine had entered the State by the freight postal system from the US via Shannon airport.
The package was then closely monitored by gardai and customs officers from the time it landed in Shannon to when it was delivered to a man at a drop-off point in Gort.
The gardai swooped in on the car in which the drugs were placed and arrested the occupants which included the 39-year-old man and his partner, a 24-year-old woman, who is also from Limerick.
The two suspects were brought to Galway Garda Station in Mill Street where they were detained under the provisions of Section 2 of the Criminal Justice (Drug Trafficking ) Act 1996 and can be held for up to seven days.
According to gardai and customs the seven kilos of cocaine would normally be valued at more than €500,000, but because of its high grade quality and when mixed with bulking agents it could have a street value of up to €2 million.
As part of a follow up operation gardai became aware of a house in Moycullen. A search was carried out later on Tuesday afternoon and €100,000 was found hidden behind a bath.
It is also understood that at the scene gardai uncovered evidence of previous successful deliveries of cocaine.
A spokesperson for Galway Garda Station confirmed at time of going to press that the man and woman arrested in relation to the drugs seizure were still in custody and being questioned.
He also confirmed that the drugs had been destined for distribution in the west.
There has been intense speculation in recent months that there is increased criminal traffic between Limerick and Galway, with several major players in the Limerick area considering transferring to Galway in order to evade the intense scrutiny place don criminal elements in the Munster city.
However, these new connections between the two cities will be closely examined in the light of this week’s developments.