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Gardaí arrest port employee who is suspected of being ‘inside man’ in €2.8m cocaine bust

16th November 2021

Gardaí investigating a €2.8m cocaine seizure arrested a man who works in Rosslare Europort who they suspect was the “inside man” for a massive drugs distribution network.

The employee, who was not previously known to officers, was one of four men arrested as part of the major investigation since the discovery was made at the port at 2am last Thursday.

All have now been released without charge and a file will be sent to the DPP pending the analysis of mobile phones and other electronic devices.

“Let’s put it this way, the suspect who works at the port is suspected of being the gang’s eyes and ears at the location.

“This individual was arrested because he is suspected of providing the gang with information about when their freight is arriving in Rosslare and about the activities of gardaí and customs officers at the port,” a senior source said.

This would be absolutely crucial information for the organised crime gang and while it seems he got involved with these criminals for relatively innocent stuff at the start, he is now suspected of facilitating the importation of almost €3m worth of cocaine,” the source added.

The huge probe which is being led by the Wexford divisional drugs unit has established that associates of the gang behind the shipment travelled to France last week to actually “oversee” the drugs being put into a consignment of thousands of fish boxes at Dunkirk Port.

The haul arrived in Rosslare Port last Thursday morning in an unaccompanied freight trailer which attracted the suspicion of customs officers and led to local gardaí setting up a surveillance operation.

Gardaí watched as a man in his 20s, who is well known to local officers for involvement in organised crime, arrived at the scene.

The suspect, who is from the New Ross area, was arrested when he arrived in a truck tractor unit to allegedly collect the trailer which had arrived in the port from Dunkirk.

He was released over the weekend, but gardaí made three further arrests after he was detained – including the port employee and the suspected “mastermind” of the haul as well as his right-hand man who is aged in his 20s.

The drugs importation “mastermind”, who is aged in his 40s and from Co Wexford, has links to the Kinahan cartel and has been a major target for specialist gardaí for years.

He was a “person of major interest” in a detailed investigation in September, 2018, when gardaí seized over €900k in illegal cash connected to the Kinahan cartel.

The cash had been concealed in bags containing onions and gardaí believe it was due to be exported from Rosslare Europort.

Despite being questioned in the case, he was never charged in relation to it.

Meanwhile the last of the four suspects who were held on various days at Wexford and Enniscorthy Garda Stations was released without charge on Monday.

Senior sources say that gardaí believe they may have disrupted one of the country’s most active drugs trafficking networks but “lots more work needs to be done on this case.”

“Phone evidence in these cases is absolutely vital and the fact that gardaí believe the gang were present in France last week means that this is now an international investigation,” a senior source pointed out.

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