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Major seizure Revenue officers seize batch of designer drug 3-CMC and cannabis in Athlone

The drugs were discovered concealed in parcels labelled as ‘shoes boxes’ and ‘coffee bean bags’

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The drugs, which were seized in Athlone, were destined for various addresses in Ireland, including Wexford

The drugs, which were seized in Athlone, were destined for various addresses in Ireland, including Wexford

The drugs, which were seized in Athlone, were destined for various addresses in Ireland, including Wexford

Over 15kg of illegal drugs contained in parcels have been seized in Athlone, with many of the packages destined for Wexford addresses.

As part of routine operations, Revenue officers examining parcels at a premises in Athlone seized over 15kgs of illegal drugs on Monday, including herbal cannabis and 3-chloromethcathinone (CMC) crystals.

The illegal drugs, with a combined estimated value of more than €294,000, were discovered concealed in parcels labelled as ‘shoes boxes’ and ‘coffee bean bags’ that originated in Spain and the Netherlands.

The drugs were destined for addresses in Wexford, as well as Louth and Limerick.

Investigations are ongoing into the seizure, which is part of Revenue's ongoing operations targeting the importation of illegal drugs.

If businesses or members of the public have any information regarding smuggling, they can contact Revenue in confidence on Confidential Phone Number 1800 295 295.

3-Chloromethcathinone (also known as 3-CMC and clophedrone) has been sold online as a designer drug, mainly in European countries such as Sweden, Italy and Poland.

A similar drug known as 4-Chloromethcathinone caused alarm in Manchester earlier this year where, it had been discovered, it was being sold as fake MDMA.

Researchers at the Manchester Drug Analysis and Knowledge Exchange (Mandrake) posted a warning on its Twitter account in July that if anyone had consumed the drug and felt unwell to seek medical attention.

Based at Manchester Metropolitan University, Mandrake works in partnership with key stakeholders to provide chemical analysis for harm-reduction and intelligence sharing.

In a tweet, the organisation said: “WARNING! 23/07/2021. Analytical confirmation, by MANDRAKE of 4-chloromethcathinone (4CMC, clephedrone) in samples mis-sold as crystal #MDMA circulating in #Manchester . If unwell please seek medical attention.”

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While 4-Chloromethcathinone, or 4-CMC for short, had been added to MDMA and other drugs before it was found at a much higher concentration in both pills and powder form throughout the city.

With compounds similar to methamphetamine, there were concerns for potential side effects including sleeplessness, hallucinations and confusion.

The director of Mandrake, Dr Oliver Sutcliffe, was quoted as saying the drugs found on the recreational market “was worrying” because it was mixed in a tablet with MDMA, and that it was not known how the compounds will react in the body.

"We have been analysing samples over the last 16 months, but we didn't see anything like this before,” he said.

Since the reopening of nightlife in the UK on July 19, two people have died and a further 20 were hospitalised after taking blue "Tesla" pills that contained super-strength MDMA.

Meanwhile, investigations are ongoing into the seizure in Athlone which Revenue says is part of their ongoing operations targeting the importation of illegal drugs.

If businesses or members of the public have any information regarding smuggling, they can contact Revenue in confidence on Confidential Phone Number 1800 295 295.

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