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Divers arrested as police smash international drug smuggling ring in Ireland



Police hope that several seized mobile phones will reveal details of plans to pick up a consignment of cocaine worth tens of millions.

Detectives believe the cocaine is most likely originally sourced from Colombia or Venezuela.

The Irish coast guard and navy are now working with police to examine boat movements off the coast over the last week.

Irish, Spanish, Dutch and UK nationals were among those arrested in the swoop on Thursday morning, which was triggered by a report of suspicious activity near Tragumna.

Four people were arrested after a foreign-registered camper van was stopped on the outskirts of Leap village at the start of searches carried out nationwide.

Six other men were arrested at other locations, including experienced divers based in Spain. Three were stopped in a 4×4.

Another man had raised suspicions after leaving Tragumna in an articulated lorry.

“We never see articulated lorries in Tragumna – the road into the village is very narrow and there is no reason for an artic to come down there,” one local told The Irish Times.

Months of careful planning

Key individuals were under surveillance for some time amid suspicions of drug smuggling, the Irish Independent reported.

A source told the newspaper the operation was entirely intelligence-led and was the culmination of months of undercover work by anti-drug units.

“During the course of the operation 10 males – ages ranging from mid-20s to mid-50s – were arrested,” a garda spokesperson said.

“All 10 continue to be detained at a garda station in Co Cork under organised crime legislation.”

Police said they would be making no further comment at this time.

Last September, Irish commandos boarded a cartel “mother ship” carrying £136 million of cocaine in Ireland’s biggest ever drugs bust. Police believed it was delivering drugs to smaller boats at sea.

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