A GARDA investigation is underway into the discovery of a 400,000 euro cannabis growing factory near Portarlington, for the second time in the same location in three years.
Two Vietnamese nationals were brought before Birr District Court last Friday charged with a number of offences under the Misuse of Drugs Act. A man and a woman, Young hy Cao,(aged 54) and Van Thu Hong (aged 34), were charged arising from a garda raid on Rathmiles House in Killenard late last Wednesday night. Both gave English addresses and were remanded in custody to appear in Portlaoise District Court tomorrow (Thursday).
When gardai raided the building at 11.30pm they discovered a fully operational cannabis growing factory. Most of the equipment was located in the upstairs rooms of the house to conceal it from vistors. Apart from the equipment and growing plants, the Gardai also discovered a substantial amouount of harvested cannabis.
This is not the first time a growing factory has been found in the same farmhouse. A man of Asian origin was brought before the courts three years ago arising from a raid on the same house. Gardai have ruled out the involvement of the landlord, and they have yet to establish a clear connection between the two drug factories.
The discovery is the third drug factory to be foiled in the Laois-Offaly garda division this year. Gardai uncovered a smaller growing factory at house on the Offaly side of Port earlier this year. A growing operation at a farm shed in the Slieve Blooms were among two seizures to be mad this year.
Gardai also uncovered a 160,000 euros growing factory in Kilbeggan late last month, and a follow up search in Rathangan resulted in the seizure of additional equipment used in the cultivation of cannabis.
Councillor, Tom Mulhall congratulated Portarlington gardai on the latest discovery which he said was a worry to local people. He urged landlords to check the credentials of tenants and said the latest factory was a reason for more garda resources in Port.