Ireland’s 5 biggest drug busts

Last week, Gardaí seized over €100k worth of cannabis from a house in Galway (

While drug seizures may not be as shocking to Irish society as they used to be, there have been a surprising amount of them of late. I took a look at some of the biggest hauls the country has seen in recent years.

Number 5: €650k heroin seizure in Dublin, October 2013.

  • Three men arrested following a raid on an apartment at Crumlin Road, Dublin 12 and an apartment in West Part, Rathcoole, Co. Dublin.
  • Of the three men, two were released on bail.
  • Mr Keith O’Brien (36) and Mr Paul Gantley (30) were released on a bail of €500 and €300 respectively.
  • Both men were granted legal aid and are due to appear in court on 13 December.

Heroin. Copyright 8weeks2thrive
Heroin. Copyright 8weeks2thrive

Number 4: Irish couple arrested in Spain over €3 million cannabis haul, September 2012.

  • The Irish couple were arrested on the Costa del Sol hours before a scheduled flight home to Co. Cork
  • The Irish 57 year old businessman was believed to have been organising boats trafficking cannabis shipments from Morocco to Ireland.
  • Spanish police intercepted a yacht with drug onboard off the Spanish coast shortly before the couple were due to depart for Cork.
  • The seizure was the result of a joint effort between Gardaí and the Spanish police codenamed ‘Ciana/Fortuna’.

A cannabis joint. Copyright
A cannabis joint. Copyright

Number 3: 350 ecstasy tablets and 80 kilos of cannabis seized in €5 million drug-bust, Dublin, June 2013.

  • The drugs were seized when Gardaí and Revenue’s Customs Service officials raided a building in Rosemount Business Park in Blanchardstown.
  • A 41-year old male was arrested in connection with the seizure.

Number 2: Irish man arrested in €135 million cocaine drugs bust, August 2013.

  • The Irish male was arrested by Spanish police in Gran Canaria.
  • The man has been named as Mr Kenneth Qualtar, with an address in Co Tyrone.
  • Mr Qualtar was one of five people arrested after Spanish police intercepted a yacht with 500 kilos of cocaine onboard.
  • Two Spaniards were arrested, along with an American and an Australian women in connection with the raid.
  • Firearms, gold bars worth €135k, satellite telecommunications equipment and three boats were also confiscated relating to the smuggling operation.

Cocaine. Copyright 2013
Cocaine. Copyright 2013

Number 1: €1.2bn cocaine seizure off the coast of Co. Cork, July 2008.

  • In Ireland’s biggest drug smuggling operation three Englishmen were convicted.
  • Joe Daly (41), Martin Wanden (45) and Perry Wharrie (48) were all convicted of attempting to bring 1.5 tonnes of high-purity cocaine into the country.
  • A fourth man, Gerard Hagan (24) was also arrested in connection with the failed smuggling operation.
  • The four men were believed to be part of a joint enterprise of up to 12 individuals.
  • The drugs were being carried by an RIB (Rigid Inflatable Boat), with the three men onboard.
  • The boat stalled after one of the men mistakenly fed the boats engines with diesel instead of petrol, leading to their capture.
  • The cocaine shipment originated from Barbados.

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