By Andrew Bushe
DUBLIN — Up to six tons of marijuana, with a potential street value of euro 15 million, was seized by enforcement officers from the customs section of the Revenue Commissioners on Monday.
The haul, the biggest ever made by customs officers, was made in a container in Dublin port after what the spokesman described as “routine profiling.”
“It was hidden in a container behind concrete garden furniture that had been shipped from Thailand via Singapore and Antwerp in Belgium,” a spokesman said.
A man has been arrested and inquiries are continuing, the spokesman added.
Meanwhile, customs enforcement officers also made their largest-ever seizure of contraband tobacco, which was discovered last week in a container in Cork labeled as earthenware from Thailand.
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The 5,232 kilograms (over 5 tons) of counterfeit roll-your-own tobacco was in packs labeled as “Golden Virginia.”
The container had been shipped to Cork from Bangkok via the port of Rotterdam.
The officers believe the consignment was due to be smuggled on into Northern Ireland and Britain.
“The retail value of a similar quantity of genuine tobacco is euro 1.25 million,” a spokesman said. “However, the seized tobacco is of inferior quality.
“The potential loss to Revenue includes customs duty, excise duty and value-added-tax of approximately euro 1.1 million. This is the single largest seizure of roll-your-own tobacco on record and is significant when compared to 2001 when 231 commercial tobacco seizures yielded 1,780 kilograms.”
The spokesman said the discovery was made “following routine profiling” and the tobacco was found hidden behind a small quantity of plant pots.
A crackdown on street sellers and regulations requiring special excise stamps on legitimate packs of tobacco and cigarettes has severely curtailed the black market business in Ireland.