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Operation Tara Major new garda operation on drugs will have a particular focus on street-level dealing

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 Discarded drug paraphernalia

Discarded drug paraphernalia

Discarded drug paraphernalia

Gardai have launched a major new operation aimed at “protecting communities from the scourge of illegal drugs”. 

Operation Tara will see hundreds of gardai assigned to Divisional Drug Units across every Garda Division in the country take on individuals and groups involved in the drug trade “at all levels”.

The stated aim of Operation Tara is to “disrupt, dismantle and prosecute drug trafficking networks - international, national, local - involved in the importation, distribution, cultivation, production, local sale and supply of controlled drugs".

However, speaking at Garda Headquarters, Commissioner Drew Harris said: there will be a particular focus on street-level dealing.

“Not only is this dealing devastating for the individual buying the drugs and their loved ones, it is also corrosive for local communities to have to witness it,” he said.

Commissioner Harris said it is no longer the case that such dealing is confined to cities and urban areas.

“It is now happening in towns and villages around the country,” he added. “Operation Tara will tackle this scourge.

"The term ‘recreational’ drug use is a dangerous misnomer that hides the irreparable damage that illegal and dangerous drugs cause to individuals and society,” he added. “A current generation is suffering from and will be lost to the menace of this illegal drug use.

“Every person who continues to buy and consume illegal drugs inflicts untold damage to individuals under coercive control from organised drug gangs in Ireland, is putting money directly in the pockets of drug cartels, and is responsible for the damage done to communities here and abroad from drugs.”

Throughout the Covid-19 pandemic Commissioner Harris highlighted the fact that resources assigned to specialist units, including drugs units, were not affected by emergency measures.

During 2020 Divisional Drugs Units were beefed up in preparation for Operation Tara. As of May 31, a total of 321 members have been assigned full time to the various units across every Garda Division.

Gardai added that the uninterrupted policing of organised crime at a national level and the considerable increase in the size of Divisional Drug Units has seen significant amounts of drugs seized and arrests made.

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Last year, gardai seized 137.8kg of cocaine worth €9.5million; 368.6kg of cannabis worth €7.3 million; 41.4kg of Diamorphine worth €5.8 million; 28.4kg/ 32,000 amphetamines/tablets (MDMA/LSD/ Ecstasy) worth €1.1 million; and 471,400 Benzodiazepine tablets worth €750,000.

These included significant busts including one made by the Divisional Drugs Unit Cork City on May 21 that resulted in the seizure of approximately half a kilo of suspected heroin with an estimated street value of €70,000.

A second search conducted in an industrial premise, a quantity of heroin, Xanax tablets, ecstasy and cocaine with an estimated street value of €167,000 were discovered.

On July 16 the Divisional Drugs Unit DMR West (Blanchardstown) carried out a search of a residence in the Kingswood area of Dublin 22.

Gardaí seized an assortment of suspected controlled drugs including 34kg vacuum packed cannabis with an estimated value of €680,000; MDMA with an estimated value of €40,860; pink Upjohn tablets valued at €22,146, and blue ecstasy tablets valued at €176,190.

Pink powder for Upjohn tablets valued at €168,000 and €3,550 respectively, white ecstasy tablets valued at €66,240, ketamine valued at €60,000, Xanax tablets valued at €81,700 and further ecstasy valued at €1,187,500 were also included in the haul.

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