Yesterday’s raid by the Army Rangers Wing on the MV Matthew has led to the largest drug seizure in the history of the State, Gardaí have confirmed.
Officials estimate the drugs found onboard the ship have a street value of around €157 million and weigh over 2,000kgs.
Twenty-five people were onboard the ship and Gardaí have declined to comment about how many could be arrested.
“This product was supplied by a South American cartel,” Assistant Garda Commissioner Justin Kelly said.
“One of the murderous cartels that are behind the cocaine shipments into Europe.”
"This Joint & multiagency Op demonstrates the interoperability of Óglaigh na hÉireann, underlining the unique capability that we bring to the defence of the State. The significant intel led planning by the JTF enabled the coordination & execution of this complex multiagency Op. pic.twitter.com/2bcsZkyxdg
— Óglaigh na hÉireann (@defenceforces) September 26, 2023
The MV Matthew has been taken into Cork Harbour and it is thought the crew were working in conjunction with a fishing trawler detained off the Wexford coast earlier this week.
'Optimal way to deal with drug trafficking'
Speaking to Newstalk Breafast, Tánaiste and Minister for Defence Micheál Martin said he was made aware of the Defence Forces’ plan to seize the vessel on Monday.
"This was part of a pan-European, collective intelligence operation," he said.
"It underlines the importance of cooperation on an ongoing basis both internationally and indeed domestically.
"Domestically what you're witnessing here both within the military - the Joint Defence Forces, the Air Corps, the Naval Services and the Army Rangers - all working seamlessly together.
"Beyond that of course the Garda Síochána, the Customs Service coordinating with our Defence Forces.
"That is the optimal way to deal with drug trafficking, to deal with counter terrorism and to deal with other challenges that the State faces."
Main image: MV Matthew. Picture by: Aer Chor na hÉireann