Nearly 300 incidents of criminals intimidating victims with drug debts reported
One case involved blackmail of a victim for a sum of €25,000
- 06:29, 28 JAN 2022
Nearly 300 incidents of drug related intimidation were reported to gardai in Dublin last year.
Drug Related Intimidation is when a criminal alleges a drug debt is owed by a victim and threatens violence or assaults them until the sum is paid.
Family members of the victim can often be threatened or attacked by the criminal if the sum is not paid. And many cases result in family members using their savings to pay off the debt.
The 288 incidents were associated with Operation Fogra – the gardai’s Dublin response to the horrific criminal practice.
Under the operation, a A Senior Investigating Officer is appointed to all incidents identified as having a drug related intimidation motive.
The area with the most was the North Dublin Metropolitan Region where 108 incidents were reported. The second highest number was in West Dublin, where 85 counts of drug related intimidation were reported.
The South Dublin Metropolitan Region had the fewest incidents with just 12 cases.
An example of Drug Related Intimidation that resulted in a conviction was included in the report.
The accused attempted to blackmail a victim for €25,000 in the example.
The garda report, which was prepared by Assistant Commissioner Anne Cagney, read: “This significant conviction arose because of the suspect’s efforts on three (3) separate occasion to threaten and put the injured party in fear in an attempt to extort €25,000 from the injured party.”
“Investigating Gardaí executed a serious [sic] of investigative tasks including a search of the suspect’s home address, under a search warrant, which resulted in evidence relating to the crime being seized as evidence.”
The accused was sentenced to three years of imprisonment after the DPP directed the suspect be prosecuted on indictment with three counts of blackmail.
The report reads: “The DPP having considered the comprehensive investigation file submitted by Gardaí directed that the suspect be prosecuted on indictment with three (3) separate counts of Blackmail… The accused was convicted and sentenced by Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to three (3) years imprisonment.”
Chair of Dublin City Council’s Joint Policing Committee Daithi de Roiste said drug dealers are “holding communities and families to ransom through intimidation”.
He said: “It is a very real issue. It is something that looks at people who are in debt to drug dealers and it is the impact upon them and having to come up with money to pay off their debts and what that leads to and the impact that has on wider society but also the impact that has on their families.
“We have all heard instances rather it is parents or grandparents going to credit unions in order to pay off debts that somebody may owe to a local dealer.”
He added: “That intimidation is real. It is horrible and quite frankly it is disgusting when you have people that are clearing out their life savings to clear debts with drug dealers due to intimidation.”
The Fianna Fail Councillor “implored” people dealing with drug related intimidation to get in touch with the gardai and let them “bring these people to justice”.