Rural gangs ‘working together’ to source drugs from abroad, top cop warns
As organised crime expands business operations abroad and gang leaders flee to other countries, gardai plan to expand operations in other regions
Rural gangs are working together to source drugs from abroad, a top cop has said.
Assistant Garda Commissioner John O’Driscoll revealed officers are “following the product” as criminals work together to get narcotics from countries such as South America.
His comments come after an exclusive report from the Irish Sunday Mirror revealed rural Ireland is facing a cocaine epidemic, as rising numbers of farmers become addicted.
Mr O’Driscoll told Paul Reynolds on RTE Radio One’s This Week yesterday: “There is significant fluidity about organised crime groups and people move from one to another and co-operate with each other.
“So there certainly is an element of co-operation with crime gangs outside Dublin for the purposes of sourcing drugs.
“But we don’t necessarily see any significant effort on the part of crime gangs based in urban areas to take over the drugs market outside of Dublin.
“But they may well have been involved in sourcing drugs in the first instance.
“And in order to bring drugs into Ireland, which may have their origin in South America or in Pakistan, it needs considerable co-operation along the way from a whole range of people at an international level.”
As organised crime expands business operations abroad and gang leaders flee to other countries, gardai plan to expand operations in other regions.
Mr O’Driscoll said: “We have a very close working relationship with the UK NCA (National Crime Authority) in particular. We work with the law enforcement authorities in Spain on a regular basis, the Netherlands also.
“The Commissioner recently announced our liaison network, which is mainly focused in Europe, will expand. Within 2020, we expect to have liaison personnel based outside of Europe.
“And that is an indication of how we as an organisation are also developing based on the transnational nature of organised crime groups we now have to tackle.
“So both in North America and in South America and in places such as that you will see a Garda presence in a more formal way into the future.
“We follow the criminal, we follow the product, and we’re in there now, recognising fully this is a transnational business and therefore we must have a better footprint in locations such as that.”
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