Police believe that Irish criminal gangs have travelled to Mexico with other European gangs to organise the supply of fentanyl into the Irish and European markets.
The underworld groups engaged with the leaders in the production and supply of fentanyl into the US market, the deadly Sinaloa Cartel.
Several groups were involved in the meetings, including a "long-running West Dublin trafficking outfit," according to Borderland Beat.
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Senior gardaí Chief Supt Seamus Boland told the Citizens' Assembly on Drugs Use that fentanyl 'is a risk to all drugs consumers, as cartels can add fentanyl to other drugs to increase addiction, thereby increasing customer base'.
“We are satisfied that Irish criminal networks have been considering the supply of fentanyl into the Irish market," he said.
And the meeting has likely come about because of the dip in production of heroin in Afghanistan after the Taliban takeover, experts have said.
Synthetic opiates, including fentanyl, are far more potent than heroin.
Fentanyl was first detected in Ireland in 2016 and 2017 but is not considered widespread. But with the drug blighting the US, with people effectively becoming zombies the Irish Government is scrambling to halt its influx.
Ireland already recorded 409 overdose deaths in 2020. Preliminary statistics for 2022 indicated there were 109,000 deaths linked to synthetic opiates, primarily fentanyl, in the US.
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As a response to the criminal networks intertwining, gardaí are to enter into a cooperation agreement with Colombian police.
Justice Minister Helen McEntee is to seek approval from the Government to allow the special arrangement between the two forces.
Drew Harris visited Colombia earlier this year and met the leader of Colombia’s National Police, the country’s deputy defense minister, and the Mexican military attaché.
Irish police have already said that the feared Dublin Kinahan cartel has taken a stake in major drug deals being conducted by domestic crime gangs in exchange for assisting them to import large consignments of narcotics into the Republic.
Therefore, the gardaí believe, the infrastructure already exists for fentanyl to reach the Irish market en masse.
Former head of the Garda drug squad, retired assistant commissioner Michael O’Sullivan, said those who controlled the drugs trade in Ireland were “criminal lunatics at times”.
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