A cargo ship intercepted by Irish police and navy off Ireland’s southern coast was carrying drugs worth around 157 million euros, a record seizure for the country, police in Dublin said on Wednesday.
More than 2.2 tonnes of cocaine were found on board the boat “MV Matthew” registered in Panama. The resale value is estimated at around 157 million euros.
Three members of the crew were arrested and placed in pre-trial detention.
The 189 meter long bulk carrier was intercepted on Tuesday by Irish police and navy who fired warning shots before boarding and escorting it to Cork port where it is currently detained.
The drug was “undoubtedly destined for the Irish and European markets”, Irish Justice Minister Helen McEntee said in a statement. “This will represent a major blow to organized crime gangs involved in international drug distribution,” she added.
According to the Irish Times newspaper, police were tracking the ship, suspecting it of carrying cocaine from South America and making drug deliveries to smaller vessels at sea.
Police arrested two men on Sunday after they rescued them when their fishing boat ran aground on a sandbar off Ireland’s southeast coast. She suspects them of offenses linked to organized crime.
Such a large drug shipment could not have entered Irish waters without the involvement of an Irish gang, Justin Kelly said. Gangs in Ireland have “direct links to South America”, the spokesperson added.
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