Monday, August 29, 2005

There is no evidence of paramilitary involvement in drug-trafficking in Ireland, the head of the Garda National Drugs Unit insists

Evelyn Ring:

While there might be concern the IRA would get involved in drugs in the future, now they have declared an end to their armed campaign, this was also unlikely, said Det Supt Cormac Gordon.

Interviewed on RTÉ’s This Week, he said there was no indication, intelligence or information to suggest the IRA was likely to get involved in drugs.

Referring to the €13 million worth of drugs netted by gardaí last week, Det Supt Gordon said they were satisfied it was destined for Ireland. But he queried the assertion made by US cocaine trafficking expert Ron Chiswick that only between 15% and 20% of the drug is ever intercepted.

“That figure is quoted throughout Europe but it is very difficult to quantify how much gets into a country without being detected,” he said.

It was, however, getting easier for drug traffickers to move across Europe because there were fewer controls.

“It is not possible to stop every vehicle or passenger that comes into a country and search their luggage.”

But he could not see a situation where some of the so-called softer drugs might be legalised in Ireland. He did not think such a move would be welcomed either.

He said cannabis was the most widely used drug here, followed by ecstasy and cocaine, demand for which has increased over the last four years.

Cocaine from South America was being supplied to Ireland through Spain, as was cannabis that originated in North Africa.

Ecstasy was generally produced in Holland, but the raw material used to make the drug comes from China, as did the raw material for amphetamines.

Det Supt Gordon said drug-trafficking in Ireland was run like a business, with traffickers living near their source in Holland or Spain so they can get the best prices.

While John Gilligan’s drugs empire had collapsed, there could be former members who were still involved at the periphery.

He believes there would always be people wanting to get involved in drug-trafficking because there was money to be made from it.

In the case of cocaine, there was an opportunity for people to double or treble their initial investment.

Drugs seizures - No room for complacency on drug issue


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