A major multi-agency operation conducted by the Irish authorities (Gardaí, Customs, Navy and Air Corps) has resulted in the seizure of over 2 tonnes of cocaine on board a Panamanian-flagged merchant vessel, originating in the northern coast of South America.
The operation was triggered after information was shared within the scope of MAOC-N, indicating that the fishing trawler that had run aground on a sandbank off Cork, would be responsible for collecting the drugs that were being transported by the cargo ship “MATTHEW”. The Irish authorities immediately set up an operation to intercept the cargo ship, which was attempting to flee and leave the Irish waters.
The Irish Naval Service vessel had to fire warning shots to stop the ship, which eventually had to be boarded by an armed party from the elite Army Ranger Wing, descending onto the deck from an Air Corps helicopter to secure the vessel. The ship was directed to Cork Harbour where the Irish authorities are currently undertaking a deep search but have already managed to find the 2.253 tons of cocaine.
This intelligence-led operation was conducted with the support of MAOC (N) in collaboration with partners from the National Crime Agency (NCA), the Drugs Enforcement Agency (DEA) and the French Customs Service (DNRED).
Statement by the Minister of Justice of Ireland: https://www.gov.ie/ga/preasraitis/6b3bb-statement-from-the-minister-for-justice/