Northern Ireland news

Irish drugs gangs biggest players in €14 billion trade in Europe

Michael O'Sullivan said Irish gangs are 'an integral part of organised crime in Europe'

IRISH drugs gangs are the biggest players in an estimated €14 billion trade in Europe, an investigator has revealed.

Michael O'Sullivan, a former lead officer in An Garda Síochána dealing with organised crime, said Irish gangs are "an integral part of organised crime in Europe".

In an interview with The Journal about his work leading an international anti-drug trafficking agency, he said "people at the top of the pyramid in Ireland are talking to the people abroad and asking them to be included in the next deal".

He said trawlers are being used to meet ships off the coast off the Republic to bring in large quantities of drugs with speed boats used by gangs to evade capture by law enforcement in Irish waters and across European coastlines.

"Irish criminals are an integral part of organised crime in Europe and they all know one another and they all do business with one another," he said.

"They have a certain status – there is no international boundaries when it comes to the organised crime world.

"They don't care who they do business with as long as they do business.

"They are all mates with first rate contacts."

Mr O'Sullivan, who leads the Maritime Analysis and Operations Centre Narcotics in Portugal, said Irish criminals are involved in the highest echelons of organised crime in Europe.

He said each shipment could have four or five criminal gangs financing it with an overall involvement of 10 major crime gangs, but the common denominator is the presence of Irish criminals.

"That is the way it works and those people who are organising the shipments abroad are now Irish."

Mr O'Sullivan also said he believes the cocaine problem in the Republic will "get worse before it gets better" as a result of the improved contacts between Irish and international criminals.

Enjoy reading the Irish News?

Subscribe now to get full access

Northern Ireland news
503 Service Unavailable

Service Unavailable

The server is temporarily unable to service your request due to maintenance downtime or capacity problems. Please try again later.