Portlaoise Garda Station is the Laois Offaly Divisional HQ
Gardaí seized drugs, cash, an imitation gun and made eight arrests as part of four drugs operations in Laois and Offaly last week in what marked a continuing crackdown on the drugs trade in the two counties.
Backed by armed gardaí and air support, Garda drug units in the two counties were central to four combined and co-ordinated operations.
Apart from the arrests gardaí seized thousands of euro worth of a variety of drugs as well as a substantial quantity of cash when they raided homes and stopped cars during the operation which swung into action last Friday, May 1 and continued into the next day.
While gardaí were active in both counties most of the arrests were made in Laois, with Portlaoise, Portarlington and Mountmellick the focus of attention.
A search is also underway for an individual who was confronted by gardaí during the operation in Portlaoise. A garda was slightly injured after the suspect evaded capture in a car. The individual is central to the Garda investigation.
A follow-up search of the suspects home revealed a small quantity of drugs and €6,000 in cash.
Two women were arrested in Portarlington after a search which uncovered cocaine, crack cocaine, heroin and other tablets.
A man was arrested and charged in Portlaoise after being stopped and searched and found to be in possession of cocaine and cannabis.
Another man was arrested after a search in the Knockmay area of Portlaoise where heroin and benzodiazepines were found with €1,800 worth of cash.
Another man was arrested in Grove Park Mountmellick after cannabis herb valued at €5,000 and €2,240 in cash was seized during the search of a house.
Two other individuals, one of whom is from Portarlington, were arrested after their car was stopped in Kinnitty, Co Offaly. Cannabis herb worth an estimated €1,400 was seized.
A sawn-off imitation shotgun was discovered during a search in Tullamore.
A part of the operation is linked to the deaths of three homeless people with Laois ties in Tullamore recently.
Two women died on Sunday, April 26 and a man died due to suspected overdoses at Clonamore House last weekend. The hostel is used as emergency accommodation by three local authorities in the midlands. All had taken contaminated drugs.
The third victim, Aron Ging, of Clonrooske View, Portlaoise was laid to rest last weekend after he lost his fight for life in Tullamore hospital. Angela Kelly was also buried last week as was Amy Mannix who had lived in Portlaoise but was from Lixnaw in Co Kerry. Her remains were laid to rest in her native county. A fourth man is being cared for in Portlaoise but is expected to survive.
Last week's Garda operations follow the recent discovery of €1.2 million worth of cannabis in a ditch in the Arles Ballylinan area of Laois. A further €500,000 worth of cannabis was seized in April in Portlaoise when three people were arrested.