Irish customs officials just foiled an attempt to smuggle nearly 90 pounds of weed into Dublin from the Netherlands.
A Customs K-9 named James tipped off authorities to the smell of weed while performing routine package checks at a mail depot in Dublin. That’s when Irish Revenue officials discovered just over 88 pounds of cannabis flower hidden in poster tubes. These illicit packages were hidden in standard mailing boxes that were sent from the Netherlands.
“The illegal drugs were discovered, with the assistance of detector dog James, in a number of boxes containing poster tubes, all of which originated from the Netherlands,” said a Revenue spokesperson, according to Extra.ie. “All of the parcels were destined for a number of addresses in West Dublin. Investigations are ongoing.”
Investigators believe that Dublin gangs are using the postal service to import drugs now that traditional smuggling routes are closed due to the recent coronavirus quarantine. The confiscated weed, which officials estimate is worth about €800,000 (US $880,220) on the black market, is now under analysis at a forensic laboratory.
In a separate incident, gardaí at Dublin Port arrested two men and seized €76,228 in cash (US $83,872) at a quarantine checkpoint. The money is believed to be connected with organized crime, but it is not yet clear if the cash was linked to the failed drug smuggling attempt.
Although this recent smuggling attempt is likely a direct result of the quarantine, attempts to mail large quantities of weed into the country predate the coronavirus crisis. This past January, detector dogs helped Revenue officers find nearly 5 pounds of weed at Irish post offices, which were sent in numerous packages from the US, the UK, and Spain.
Since quarantine measures were imposed, the demand for cannabis has skyrocketed. Before the lockdown, cocaine was a top seller for the country's drug smugglers, but now that parties and social gatherings are banned, Irish citizens have switched to drugs like pot and Xanax to help them relax.
Ironically, Dublin drug smugglers are not the only ones ordering weed from the Netherlands. Last month, Ireland's Department of Health imported a supply of legal medical cannabis products from Holland to ensure that Irish medical marijuana patients continue to have access to their medicine during the lockdown.
Previously, many of these patients had to personally travel to the Netherlands to buy their own medicine. The UK has only just begun to cultivate and produce medical marijuana on its home soil, forcing most patients to import their medicine at high cost or buy it overseas.