Drug and tobacco smuggling

Intelligence and operations

Intelligence is gathered by Revenue to identify possible drug smuggling routes in passenger and cargo traffic. It is used in the analysis of the movement of persons and goods on those routes. It is also used in the profiling, targeting and routine surveillance of suspect persons or consignments.

Maritime Units

Revenue’s Maritime Unit is based in Cork. Two Customs cutters the R.C.C. Suirbheir and the R.C.C. Faire, as well as rigid inflatable boats operate out of the unit. All boats are manned by trained officers. The objective of the customs cutters is the prevention, detection, interception and seizure of controlled drugs, fiscal goods, arms, ammunition, explosives, prohibited and restricted goods smuggled or illegally imported into, or intended to be exported out of, the State or the European Union (EU).

Image of Revenue's customs cutter, the R.C.C. Suirbheir

Canine Detector Dog Teams

Revenue deploys drug detector dog units at strategic locations including our ports and airports throughout the country. Each unit comprises a dog, a dog handler and a team of support staff. The dogs have been trained to detect controlled drugs such as heroin, cocaine, cannabis, amphetamines and ecstasy. Revenue also has tobacco and cash detector dog teams.

These units are on-call, 24 hours a day, 365 days of the year. They also provide back-up to other enforcement agencies when required.

Image of Revenue's canine detector dog, TobyImage of Revenue's canine detector dog, Chip

Co-operation between Irish enforcement agencies

Co-operation between Irish enforcement agencies includes a Joint Task Force comprising Customs, Gardaí and Naval Service if required for maritime operations. There is nationwide liaison at local level between nominated Customs and Garda officers in addition to the exchange of information between the Customs Drugs Law Enforcement Unit and the Garda National Drugs and Organised Crime Bureau.

Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) initiative

The MOU initiative is a programme of co-operation between Revenue and the business community to prevent smuggling, in particular drug smuggling. We have links with thousands of companies. These include airlines, air express couriers, shipping companies, airport and harbour authorities, freight forwarders, exporters, road hauliers and, chemical companies.

The initiative provides for the training of company staff by Revenue liaison officers to heighten drug smuggling awareness. Practical advice is offered to helps to prevent vehicles being used to smuggle drugs and other contraband goods. Company staff are also provided with ready channels of communication with Revenue.

Precursor Programme

The Precursor Programme facilitates co-operation between Revenue and the chemical industry to detect the diversion of chemicals for illicit purposes.

The programme is designed to increase awareness of legitimate chemicals possibly being diverted to the manufacture of illicit drugs. Revenue has dedicated Precursor Liaison Officers located at key areas around the country. They are trained in the identification and handling of chemicals. Their role is to liaise with members of the chemical trade to identify suspicious activity.

Next: International co-operation