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Gardaí seize €80,000 worth of cannabis plants in Ballintubber

Gardaí seize €80,000 worth of cannabis plants in Ballintubber

Anton McNulty

Cannabis worth €80,000, destined to be distributed in towns in Mayo over the Christmas period, was seized by gardaí during a raid on a rented house in Ballintubber.
Officers from the Mayo Drug Division raided the rented house last week and discovered 100 mature cannabis plants which were in the process of being cut up. Two men, both Polish nationals, were in the property at time and were arrested. The men were later released, and a file is being prepared for the DPP.
This was the 19th such raid in Mayo this year and comes just weeks after gardaí discovered €1.4 million-worth of cannabis plants in an industrial unit in Swinford. A Garda source told The Mayo News that cannabis in the Ballintubber raid was ready for the ‘Christmas market’ and the ‘most elaborate’ operation they have come across in the county.
“The plants were in the process of being cut up and of the three rooms where the plants were growing, one room was already cut and bagged … It was destined to be sold in towns like Westport, Ballinrobe and Castlebar,” the Garda source said.
The two arrested men, who live in Castlebar and were known to the Gardaí, rented the property for the sole purpose of growing the cannabis. They were in the house for over a year and the Gardaí believe that more cannabis was cultivated in the house before it came to their attention. The house was under surveillance for the last two months, with that surveillance intensifying over the last three weeks.
The growing operation inside the house was described by gardaí as the ‘most elaborate’ they have come across in Mayo with fan units set up and electrical wiring by-passing the ESB meter.
Increasingly common
The cultivation of cannabis plants for sale and supply in Mayo has become increasingly common in recent years.
Plants can take just ten weeks to reach maturity, and if their cultivation goes undetected, they can yield a lucrative return for growers.
The Mayo News has learned that a number of premises in the county are under Garda surveillance, and more raids are expected before the end of the year. However, the reduction in man power has made it difficult for gardaí to keep track of all the premises growing the plants.
Property owners have been asked to be vigilant when renting property, especially in the countryside. If they suspect that their property may be used for cannabis cultivation, they should contact the Mayo Drug Division in Ballina and Castlebar Garda Stations.

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