Drugs smuggled into Ireland ‘inside horses and donkeys’, police meeting says

Criminals have stuffed packages containing drugs into low-value female horses and donkeys in an attempt to smuggle narcotics into the state, the Dublin City Council Joint Police Committee has learned.

Fianna Fáil adviser Deirdre Heney said she found information about the practice, which involved inserting packets into animals’ vaginas before transport.

She said these animals were brought to Dublin port, where they undergo health checks, and if the packages were not discovered during these, then the drugs could be removed and prepared for sale in the streets.

Tom Talbot, a senior officer in Revenue’s Investigation, Prosecution and Border Management Division, said criminals would take advantage of any method of smuggling drugs, including hiding them inside. an animal or a person.


He told the meeting that the past two years had been “exceptional” at the port of Dublin for smuggling contraband such as drugs, cigarettes, tobacco and alcohol.

For example, in 2019, one tonne of raw tobacco was seized at the port, increasing to four tonnes last year and 34 tonnes so far this year.

Drugs valued at 40 million euros were seized at the port of Dublin this year, against 19 million euros for the whole of last year. This year’s figure included a shipment of cocaine disguised as charcoal, which was valued at 35 million euros.

While last year saw a very high number of cigarettes seized at the port, this year was well on its way to beating the trump card. Some 42 million cigarettes, with a potential loss to the public treasury of 30 million euros, were seized at the port last year. Between 38 and 39 million cigarettes have been seized this year, he said.

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