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catch of the day Irish authorities provided intelligence which led to seizure of €220m hash in trawler

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IRISH authorities provided intelligence which led to the seizure of a €220m hash in a trawler off the Canary Islands this week.

The 22 tonne haul which is the largest has seizure in European water for years was found a trawler around 90 nautical miles off the coast of the Canaries on Tuesday.

The Odyssey 227 vessel had travelled from Morocco and it is believed the shipment was destined for the European market.

The Irish Naval Service had flagged the vessel as suspicious before Gardai and Customs officers alerted the Irish desk at the European Maritime Analysis Operations Centre (Maoc) and this led to the Spanish Navy boarding the vessel this week and discovering the massive haul.

Four men were initially arrested in connection with the seizure.

Former Garda Assistant Commissioner Michael O’Sullivan, who is the head of Maoc, told The Irish Times information provided by the Irish security services was crucial in leading to the haul.

“It was an operation driven by the Irish; between the Navy and then the Garda and Customs. And without that, would it have been highlighted and the drugs seized? Most unlikely,” he said.

“It’s the largest maritime seizure of hash in European waters that I’m aware of. I don’t know of a bigger one. We have had other multi-tonne seizures; three, four, five tonnes. But not 22 tonnes like this one.”

He said a major multinational investigation was underway into who was behind the consignment.

He pointed that out typically large hauls like this one are funded by multiple gangs working together.

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