INTERPOL are working with Limerick gardai to topple a major Lithuanian drugs gang, after it was revealed that 16 Lithuanians have been arrested and charged with various drug offences in Limerick.
The drugs gang is using newly arrived immigrants to sell drugs on the streets of towns and cities across Ireland, Judge Eugene O’Kelly was told yesterday.
Nineteen year old Rustam Riabov was only in the country two weeks when he was ordered to go to Limerick to sell heroin, Limerick District Court heard.
The Lithuanian national was caught with ten bags of heroin and €205 in cash when he was stopped by gardai at Arthur’s Quay on September 8 last.
The unemployed 19-year-old told gardai he received €4 per bag sold.
In his evidence Garda David Boland said the former fish factory worker had come to Ireland in the hope of finding work but had no sooner arrived in Dublin when he was told to go to Limerick by an organised Lithuanian gang involved in the supply of drugs in Ireland.
Judge Eugene O’Kelly was told that the modus operandi of this gang was to instruct newly arrived immigrants to go to a particular city or town and “to keep selling drugs until they are caught”.
If they receive bail subsequently they are moved on by the gang to other towns or cities, Garda Boland added.
He said those working for the gang here are continuously threatened and warned that their family back home could be at risk. Garda Boland said information is being shared with other drug units across the country and Interpol has also been notified.
Gardai have difficulty in establishing who is controlling the drugs operation here as those arrested never reveal their identity. Some 16 other Lithuanians have been arrested and charged with various drugs offences in Limerick alone.
Mr Riabov pleaded guilty to possession of heroin and possession of heroin for sale or supply in Limerick on September 8. Judge O’Kelly imposed a six month jail sentence but suspended the last four months on condition the 19-year-old stays on good behaviour for two years.