113 held in biggest-ever crackdown on triad drug gangs

PUBLISHED : Friday, 23 November, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 23 November, 2012, 2:56am

Ireland's police force said officers arrested 113 suspected drug dealers and seized five marijuana growing facilities in the nation's biggest crackdown on triad drug-trafficking gangs, including Hong Kong's notorious Wo Shing Wo.

Police said most of those arrested during raids on 236 properties on Tuesday and Wednesday were Chinese and Vietnamese nationals involved in growing, smuggling and selling marijuana in Ireland. They said many were connected to the Wo Shing Wo, the biggest Hong Kong-based gang, and were being directed by triad chieftains based in neighbouring Britain.

Most of the suspects arrested are expected to be arraigned this week on charges including drug trafficking, robbery, burglary, arms possession and handling stolen goods.

The five marijuana-growing operations involved 4,200 plants with an estimated street value of €3.5 million (HK$4.5 million).

The Irish Independent reported that a prior court case involving three Chinese men had revealed they had responded to Chinese website advertisements offering work in Ireland and only later discovered they had to tend cannabis crops.