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Cannabis Intercepted In Tipperary Bound Mail.

Customs Officers discovered over 3.4kgs worth of herbal cannabis at the Portlaoise Mail Centre, Clonminam Industrial Estate, Portlaoise, Co Laois, yesterday, with an estimated street value of some €68,000.

We understand that the drugs seized were found concealed in parcels labelled as “Herbal Tea” and “Yoga Cushions” and the parcels were destined for addresses in Co. Tipperary and Dublin.

Follow up investigations are expected to lead to prosecutions.

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Tipperary Man Guilty Of Importing Illegal Firearms

Charges under Section 27A of the Firearms Act 1964 and the Criminal Justice Act of 2006, have resulted in a guilty verdict being found against a Tipperary man.

Mr Thomas Bates, No.51 Abbey Street, Cahir, Co. Tipperary, was found guilty of conspiring to possess an explosive substance, a firearm and ammunition. Same was uncovered following a joint operation by the FBI and An Garda Síochána investigating attempts made to access the aforementioned illegal items on the “Darknet”, (Darknet – A portion of the Internet purposefully not open / available to public view).

Following his conviction, Mr Bates has now been remanded in custody and is expected to be sentenced in July after he was convicted by a jury at Clonmel Circuit Court of the three charges between October 24th and November 10th 2017.

While found not guilty of the possession of ammunition on November 10th 2017, the two-week trial heard evidence from an FBI agent and a number of Gardaí which included members of the Special Detective Unit from Harcourt Square, Dublin.

The offences had been detected after an anonymous person with the online persona of Snow4, attempted via the darknet to purchase illegal items, namely a Glock pistol, a hand grenade and several rounds of ammunition. His activity was picked up by the FBI who contacted Gardaí. A delivery was then arranged to the address given by Snow4 and made via a Garda member posing as a postman to the address of Mr Bates under the name “Tim Bates”. Mr Thomas Bates was not Snow4.

Thomas Bates signed for three packages at 12.53pm on November 10th at his home and demonstrated no surprise when receiving the items. The accused informed the Garda / postman, that Tim Bates was his son and was currently hospitalised. There was in fact, in reality, no Tim Bates.

When Gardaí raided the house there was a fire lighting in the back garden and remnants of the packaging used in the delivery were located, while the items contained had been placed in a plastic bag near the gateway.

Messages were found from Snow4 stating “they landed bro, happy days, I’ll have them this evening,” and contained information that had to have come from an individual who had previously viewed the packages.

In Garda interviews following his arrest, Mr Bates had denied taking the delivery of any items or indeed starting a fire to destroy evidence.

One other accused, Mr Nigel Gartland aged 34, with an address at No.4 Knocklofty Heights, Clonmel, Co Tipperary was found not guilty by direction of Mr Justice Thomas Teehan.

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Woman Cleared In Tipperary Murder Case.

A 48-year-old Latvian woman, Ms Inga Ozolina, who stated that her life had been made a living hell by her violent boyfriend and whom she had obtained safety orders against, has been cleared of his murder, but found guilty of his manslaughter

Ms Ozolina, with an address at Old Court Church, Mountrath, Co Laois, had pleaded not guilty to murdering Lithuanian native Mr Audrius Pukas at ‘The Malthouse’, Roscrea, North Co. Tipperary, on November 20th 2016.

The Central Criminal Court heard that the 40-year-old father-of-two, Mr Audrius Pukas, had died at the scene from three stab wound, one of which had been administered to his chest, proving fatal.

The trial went on hear details of an often violent and volatile relationship between the couple, with photographs seen by the seven man / five women jury, containing injuries Mr Pukas had caused to Ms Ozolina, in that fatal fight, latter which included two bite marks to her arm. Witnesses gave evidence of seeing her in the past with various injuries.

The mother of two had sought an acquittal, on a number of grounds; including self defence and the possibility that her boyfriend had walked towards the knife she was holding while they were arguing.

The jury had begun their deliberations on Friday afternoon last and had spent just over 12 hours in the jury room trying to reach a unanimous verdict. Upon failure, however, they were then granted the option of reaching a majority decision, and returned a short time later, with a 10 to 2 majority verdict.

Mr Justice Alexander Owens refused an application for continuing bail and remanded Ms Ozolina in custody for sentencing on July 1st next.

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IRA Leader Dies In Prison.

A ‘Real IRA’ leader, Mr Seamus McGrane, latter who plotted an explosion during the State visit of Prince Charles to Ireland, back in 2015, died yesterday in Portlaoise prison.

The 63-year-old Mr McGrane died from a suspected heart attack, while serving an 11-and-a-half year prison sentence for directing terrorism.

In 2015, Mr McGrane had been remanded in custody, to appear before a Saturday sitting of a non-jury Special Criminal Court, together with two other named individuals; Mr Donal Ó Coisdealbha (then aged 23) and Mr Dylan Cahill (then aged 22).

The latter, Mr Dylan Cahill, who held an address at No.102 Lower Irishtown, Clonmel, Co. Tipperary, was also charged with membership of an unlawful organisation, latter styling itself the Irish Republican Army (IRA), Oglaigh na hEireann.

Mr Cahill pleaded guilty to the possession of a .380 calibre Colt semi-automatic pistol and four rounds of .380 calibre ammunition at Sradrine, Glefarne, Co Leitrim on May 13th, 2015. He also pleaded guilty at the non-jury Special Criminal Court to the possession of two improvised explosive devices, or pipe-bombs, at the same place and on the same date.

Mr Cahill was sentenced to six years in jail with the final year suspended. A subsequent appeal of this sentence was later dismissed.

The Late Mr McGrane, was convicted of IRA membership back in 2017; becoming the second person, only, to be convicted for directing terrorism within the State; the other person being Mr Michael McKevitt, latter sentenced in 2003, to twenty years imprisonment.

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Major Drug Haul Seized In Cashel, Killenaule & Ballinure, Co. Tipperary

€500,000 worth of cannabis and ecstasy located in Tipperary

Two men, aged 22 and 45 years, have been arrested following a vehicle chase yesterday afternoon, in Ballinure, Thurles, Co. Tipperary, after Gardaí had attempted to halt a van.

Same are currently being questioned in connection with the later seizure of over €500,000 worth of cannabis and ecstasy, latter found in follow-up searches at addresses in Cashel and Killenaule last night.

Garda Operation ‘Overwatch’ was initially set up in Co. Tipperary to tackle drug dealing and other serious crime within the county.

At approximately 3.45pm yesterday afternoon, officers on a drugs and crime patrol in the Ballinure area, gave chase to a van they had earlier tried to halt. Two packages were observed being thrown from the van, resulting in around €150,000 worth of ecstasy tablets being retrieved.

Following the arrests, searches at homes in Cashel and Killenaule later resulted in the recovery of €400,000 worth of cannabis herb, latter located by the canine unit in a converted shed, together with some €21,000 in cash.

The two males are known to Gardaí and are being detained today at Thurles Garda Station. Those arrested can be detained for questioned for up to seven days under Section 2 – Criminal Justice act (Drug Trafficking Act) 1996.

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