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huge haul €50k of cocaine seized as gardaí intercept major drugs handover

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The haul seized by gardaí

The haul seized by gardaí

The haul seized by gardaí

Gardaí believe they have disrupted a major cross-border drugs distribution network after the arrest of four people in Co Louth yesterday following a surveillance operation.

Detectives from the Dundalk Drugs and Crime Unit pounced on the suspects after a drugs handover took place in the Castlebellingham area.

Senior sources say a couple travelled from Co Derry to the location in Co Louth to buy the cocaine, which gardaí said had a street value of €50,000.

Haul

It is understood the couple had paid for the drugs with £12,000 (€13,300) and the cash and drugs have been seized.

"Four persons were arrested during the course of the incident; one female and three males, all aged in their 30s," a garda spokeswoman said.

"All four are currently detained under Section 4 of the Criminal Justice Act, 1984 in Dundalk and Drogheda Garda Stations respectively."

It can be revealed that apart from the couple from Co Derry, the other two men arrested are well known criminals from the Darndale area.

One of them is a 34-year-old with multiple previous convictions including for firearms and drug offences.

He previously served a jail term after being caught with a large haul of cannabis and a number of shotguns.

The other is a criminal aged in his 30s who has been a big target for gardaí for years.

"The belief is that the Darndale gang has been travelling to the border area where a number of drop-offs happen with criminals based in Northern Ireland," a senior source said.

"This seems to have been happening for some time and yesterday's arrest is part of an intelligence operation."

Sources say both men have links to the 'Mr Big' drugs network. Mr Big's crew are considered the biggest drug dealing organisation on the northside and have also been involved in tiger kidnappings.

Enemies

They are suspected of organising the brutal gun murders of Real IRA brothers Alan and Vinnie Ryan in 2012 and 2016 as part of extortion related disputes.

The mob are involved in a number of feuds, including the Drogheda feud, where they are aligned to the anti-Maguire faction and they were sworn enemies of hitman Robbie Lawlor who was shot dead in Belfast in April.

Lawlor was the chief suspect for the murder of his former close associate and Mr Big's close pal Kenneth Finn (36) in February, 2018.

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