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Massive bust €12.3m heroin haul one of the largest seizures of the drug in the history of the State

The 88kg haul was detected by officers as part of an intelligence-led operation at the port

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Some of the heroin seized at Rosslare.

Some of the heroin seized at Rosslare.

Some of the heroin seized at Rosslare.

A large consignment of heroin with an estimated street value of more than 12 million euro busted at Rosslare Europort has been described by Revenue as the largest seizure of the drug in this country. 

The 88kg haul was detected and seized by officers as part of an intelligence-led operation at the port and a preliminary analysis indicated the drugs to be heroin.

The illegal drugs were discovered in a truck and low-loader trailer arriving into Ireland from mainland Europe, which was stopped and searched by Revenue officers.

The product was discovered concealed in machinery being carried on the low-loader.

The search was carried out with the assistance of Revenue’s mobile x-ray scanner and detector dogs Sam and Flynn.

Principal officer with Revenue's Investigation, Prosecution and Frontier Management Division, Mick Gilligan, said the seizure was a result of a wide international investigation.

“This is going on at present in which Irish Customs along with custom services in a number of European countries are looking at the movement of heroin and other illicit drugs in machinery.

“As the result of this we profile such movements coming into Ireland and indeed moving elsewhere. In conjunction with our international colleagues we had highlighted and profiled this particular consignment movement coming in.

“We had developed some intelligence in conjunction with our EU partners and the officers in Rosslare Europort used a number of facilities which are available to them including the X-ray scanner and our canine detection team.

“As a result of that and as a result of the intelligence they, in very great detail, had a look at the equipment that was being used.

“Basically, due to persistence and very hard work using additional machinery, we were able to identify that there was a concealment. Having examined the concealment we identified the 88 kilos of heroin.”

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Mr Gilligan explained that in this situation the machinery was lifting equipment very similar to a cherry picker.

“Because of the telescopic arm you will have counterweights on the opposite side to provide balance,” he said. “These counterweights can come in various sizes and the counterweights were actually hollowed out and this was the concealment that was used."

Mr Gilligan was asked on RTE’s News at One if this, the largest seizure of heroin in the history of the State in terms of quantity, was destined for the Irish market or further afield.

“The seizure is only one milestone in the investigation and there are enquiries continuing throughout Europe as we speak,” he said. “The final destination is part of those inquiries and that is yet to be completed.

“The size of the market for heroin in Ireland would probably indicate that 88 kilos would not be for the Irish market in full, that at least a significant amount of this load would have been moved on somewhere else.

He added: “We're very hopeful (it might lead to further seizures). There are a number of different custom services and law enforcement agencies from a number of different country countries actively involved in various aspects of this operation.”

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