HUGE IN­CREASE IN NUM­BER OF DRUG OF­FENCES

CHIEF SU­PER­IN­TEN­DENT IN­SISTS RISE DUE TO IN­CREASE IN DE­TEC­TION AS GAR­DAÍ CLAMP DOWN ON DRUG TRADE

The Kerryman (North Kerry) - - FRONT PAGE - By DÓ­NAL NOLAN

GARDA Chief Su­per­in­ten­dent Tom My­ers has moved to al­lay fears that the il­le­gal drug trade in Kerry is spi­ralling ‘out of con­trol’ as fig­ures show a mas­sive in­crease of 71 per cent in the num­ber of drug-deal­ing cases and a rise of 43 per cent in drug pos­ses­sion cases in the county.

The alarm­ing new fig­ures were re­vealed at a meet­ing of the county’s Joint Polic­ing Com­mit­tee in Kil­lar­ney on Fri­day, led by Chief Supt My­ers and at­tended by County Coun­cil­lors, coun­cil of­fi­cials and com­mu­nity rep­re­sen­ta­tives.

The com­par­a­tive fig­ures out­lined by the Chief Supt were for the pe­riod Jan­uary 1 – Au­gust 31, 2017 as against the same pe­riod of last year.

Sin­is­ter drug-re­lated ac­tiv­ity in­volv­ing threats to young peo­ple were also cited at the meet­ing by at least one County Coun­cil­lor.

“Have drugs gone out of con­trol in Kerry or is it be­cause we are work­ing hard on it? I like to think it’s the lat­ter,” Chief Supt My­ers told the com­mit­tee.

“New en­ergy has been put into the di­vi­sional drugs unit,” he ex­plained, say­ing he in fact took the recorded rise in drug of­fences as a pos­i­tive in­di­ca­tion of in­creased polic­ing of the trade and use of il­le­gal sub­stances.

The fig­ures re­late to cases the gar­daí have de­tected in both drug pos­ses­sion for per­sonal use and drug pos­ses­sion for the pur­poses of sale and sup­ply.

It’s ex­pected the vast ma­jor­ity of th­ese cases, not al­ready brought to jus­tice, will be pros­e­cuted be­fore the courts in the near fu­ture.

Drug polic­ing is an area in which Supt My­ers has long-proven ex­per­tise and suc­cess, hav­ing headed the drug squad in Cork City prior to be­ing trans­ferred to Kerry. Since he took up the po­si­tion last year Gar­daí have scored a num­ber of sub­stan­tial raids on drug-sup­ply op­er­a­tions – bear­ing out the Chief Supt’s be­lief the in­crease re­lates in the main to im­proved de­tec­tion. He also al­luded to im­proved ‘pro­ce­dures’ in detecting drug of­fences.

72 cases of drug deal­ing were de­tected up un­til the end of Au­gust this year; against 42 last year. Mean­while 328 cases of or­di­nary pos­ses­sion were de­tected in the same pe­riod this year, against 229 in the same pe­riod last year.

Cannabis herb ac­counts for the vast ma­jor­ity of drugs seized this year (72 per cent); with co­caine the se­cond most widely seized (7 per cent); fol­lowed by cannabis resin (5 per cent). Heroin also ac­counts for 5 per cent of the haul.

Cllr Michael Cahill mean­while al­luded to a case of a young stu­dent be­ing ‘ beaten and made an ex­am­ple’ of by a drug dealer. “If you get into debt with them up and up the re­pay­ments go and they made an ex­am­ple of this young guy.”

In re­sponse Chief Supt My­ers said: “I would en­cour­age peo­ple to come for­ward. We have to stand up to th­ese peo­ple as they are a scourge on our com­mu­ni­ties.”

Kerry Chief Su­per­in­ten­dent Tom My­ers

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