Figures show huge rise in seizures of cocaine, heroin, cigarettes and illegal alcohol last year


There was a surge last year in the amount of cocaine, heroin, cigarettes and illegal alcohol seized by Customs.

Revenue’s annual report for 2018 said it uncovered the first counterfeit cigarette factory in the State last year – in which over 23m cigarettes and 71 tonnes of tobacco were seized.

Revenue figures show that 195kgs of cocaine and heroin were seized in 2018, compared to 27kgs in 2017 – with the street value increasing from €2.2m to almost €17m.

There was a rise in the seizure of amphetamines, ecstasy and other substances – from 565kgs (€2.9m) to 1.28 tonnes (€7.6m).

But there was a major drop in the quantity of cannabis seized – down from 3.1 tonnes to 512kgs.

This meant the overall amount of drugs seized fell from 3.7 tonnes in 2017 to 1.99 tonnes in 2018, with the overall value down from almost €60 million to €33.5m.

Seizures in individual years can be skewed by very large, or even freak, seizures. The number of seizures is often seen as a better indicator, with a total of 7,174 drug seizures in 2018, compared to 6,064 in 2017.

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