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Drug-dealing rickshaw drivers are stashing socks full of cocaine and pills around Dublin streets

Journal.ie logo Journal.ie 25/06/2019 Garreth MacNamee
a train crossing a bridge over a river in a city © Shutterstock Eric Valenne geostory

SOME OF DUBLIN’S busiest streets are being used by drug-dealing rickshaw drivers to stash significant quantities of illegal substances in plain sight.

The methods used by the small-time dealers to store their drugs emerged in the wake of a recent garda blitz targeting a number of stashes across the city centre. 

On Friday night, gardaí from Pearse Street station carried out the searches close to where drivers congregate. 

Dark socks stuffed with illegal drugs were discovered hidden behind drain pipes. Plant boxes were also used by drivers to stash their drugs, for fear that they will be done for possession if caught with large quantities of cannabis, cocaine or pills. 

Outside one pub in the Grafton Street area, officers discovered a black sock stuffed with a wide variety of drugs behind a drainpipe.

The drugs were wrapped multiple times in a number of socks and the package was then wedged behind the pipe.

Cannabis, ketamine, cocaine and ecstasy tablets were part of this particular find on Friday. 

Gardaí from Pearse Street then checked a number of other areas where rickshaw drivers are known to stash their supply. These included plant boxes scattered around the Grafton Street and Camden Street areas.

Rickshaw street dealing came to the fore around three years ago when a number of people, mainly aged in their 20s, many of whom are from Brazil, began dealing using these bikes. Many rickshaw drivers operating in the city do not deal drugs. 

Gardaí believe that many of those who started dealing did so at a time when a number of English language colleges shut down.

A number of people, who previously were not involved in any form of criminality, have been caught by gardaí investigating the Dublin drugs trade.

In February of last year, a rickshaw driver caught with over €4,000 worth of ecstasy tablets had her prison sentence suspended on condition she leave the country.

Why the stashes?  

Drivers do not wish to be caught in possession of these drugs as they can can be prosecuted for sale or supply.

Instead, once the drug order is made by the customer, the driver cycles down to the stash where the package is retrieved and the sale is made.

This means if they are caught in possession of small amount of drugs, drivers can claim they are for their personal consumption and can face a much lesser charge.

The rickshaw drugs trade is being led by a figure from the Dublin nightlife scene who is being investigated by gardai for alleged involvement in directing the trade among some of the bike taxi dealers. Gardaí believe he is sourcing the cocaine through a west Dublin criminal who is heavily linked to the Kinahan cartel.

Gardaí, as well as Revenue officers, regularly carry out blitzes targeting the rickshaw drivers.

Last year, Dublin City Council issued a public advisory notice warning of the safety hazards of using rickshaws.

The vehicles, which are often motorised, are a popular form of transportation for late night revellers in the city centre.

There have been a number of calls by politicians for the bike taxis to be either regulated or completely banned. 

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