Customs officers in Ireland have sized 2,253kg of suspected cocaine – which could possibly be definitely worth the equal of £136m.
The haul – which Irish officers say was price as much as €157m – was seized from a cargo vessel off the southeast coast of Ireland.
It comes after an elite Irish military unit stormed the Panamanian ship from helicopters on Tuesday.
Speaking at a media briefing in Dublin on Wednesday, a spokesman for the Irish police service An Garda Siochana mentioned: “This is the largest drug seizure in the history of the State.”
Three arrests have been made to this point, with an investigation ongoing.
Assistant police commissioner Justin Kelly described the motion as “hugely significant”.
Mr Kelly, from the Irish police’s organised and critical crime unit, mentioned: “It reveals our unrelenting dedication to disrupt and dismantle networks, that are decided to convey medicine into our nation.
“These groups are transnational groups. They are working all across the world and, because of that, we need to work with our international partners.”
He added the working assumption was not all of the medicine on the vessel, which he believes originated from a South American cartel, had been destined for the Irish market.
But police suppose smugglers meant to land the cargo within the nation.
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Commander Tony Geraghty, fleet operations officer of the Irish Naval Service, mentioned: “There was an extremely complex joint operation involving the Naval Service, the Air Corps, the Army Ranger Wing and Defence Force headquarters.
“And then it was [made] much more advanced by environmentals that we had no management over. The climate was extraordinarily poor.
“And also we were trying to predict the actions of the number of crime gangs and how that would impact on us.
“It was very profitable from a Defence Force perspective – it confirmed the power we have now to function within the joint setting.”
Mr Geraghty added Irish forces fired a warning shot on the vessel from a patrol ship. This got here after the vessel didn’t adjust to their orders.
“The resistance when the [warning] shots were fired was in relation to the manoeuvring of the merchant ship,” he mentioned.
“It is compelled under international law to follow the instructions of a commanding officer of a warship in a situation like that – it refused to do so.
“Those photographs weren’t directed on the ship itself, they had been directed as warning photographs.”