Boat impounded as gardaí continue to comb Donegal coast after €4m cocaine haul

It follows the discovery yesterday of two large bales of drugs at Dunfanaghy and Fanad estimated to be worth more than €4m and weighing around 60kg.

As gardaí searched the coastline in a bid to locate other possible cocaine bales, a boat has been impounded in the county, with a pier was also sealed off to the public.

Members of the Garda Forensics Unit as well as officers from the Customs and Revenue attended the scene.

Officers dressed in white scenes-of-crime suits could be seen boarding the boat.

However, it did not appear that officers removed anything from the vessel.

Gardaí are remaining tight-lipped about the overall operation.

A spokesperson said they will release an update when the searches have concluded.

A massive coastline search involving the Garda Air Support Unit and the Garda Water Unit along with other state services is ongoing.

The value of the drugs is now thought to be more than €4m.

The two packages, weighing 40kg, were washed up at Ballyhiernan Beach in Fanad and the other at Tramore in Dunfanaghy.

The packages, wrapped in plastic and tied with rope, washed up between 8.30am and 9am at the remote beaches on Wednesday.

But gardaí still do not know how many, if any, other packages may be floating around the sea off Co Donegal or may have been washed up along Donegal’s 1,100km of coastline.

The Garda Air Support Unit and the Garda Water Unit along with other state services will scour that coastline in the coming days in the hunt for more suitcase-size drug hauls worth millions more.

A Garda spokesperson confirmed: “Assistance will be provided by the Garda Air Support Unit and the Garda Water Unit, along with other state and voluntary services to search along the North Donegal/ Fanad Head Coastline this evening and in the coming days.

“An Garda Síochána in Milford are appealing to landowners in the Fanad Head area with coastal land and/or any persons using the North Donegal Coastline over the coming days to be conscious of the packages that have been recovered today.

“Any person who sees any similar package or any other marine debris that attracts their attention to contact An Garda Síochána at the investigation team at Milford Garda Station 074 9153060, their local Garda station or the Garda Confidential Phone number 1800 666 111.”

Samples of the drugs seized yesterday have been sent for analysis by Forensic Science Ireland (FSI) but gardaí say they suspect the substance is cocaine.

The first package found at Fanad was discovered by a walker at around 8.30am washed up against sand-dunes.

The second at remote Tramore Beach which accessible only by foot across sand-dunes was found at the edge of the water having been washed in.

A man out walking around 9am saw the package and then dragged it up the beach and tied it to a plank of wood which he buried in the ground to stop it from being washed back out to sea.

News in 90 seconds – July 20

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