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pounds 20M DRUGS GANG BUST.

Byline: NICOLA TALLANT

GARDAI and Dutch police are poised to smash a pounds 20 million drugs and gun-running operation.

Arrests are expected in the wake of the detention of gangland fugitive John Cunningham.

He is currently on trial in Holland for trafficking huge quantities of drugs and weapons into Ireland.

Cunningham, 49, is believed to be just one of the masterminds behind a huge smuggling ring supplying ecstasy and amphetamines.

Irish criminals living in Holland are under surveillance as part of the international investigation.

A source said: "John Cunningham's arrest was a huge coup - but there are more to come."

He fled Ireland in 1996 after escaping from a jail in Co Wicklow.

In March he was arrested outside one of his several houses in Amsterdam.

It was the culmination of a five-month probe involving Dutch police and the Garda National Drugs Unit.

During a search of his luxury home in Holland police found 100,500 ecstasy pills with a street value of pounds 1.4 million.

Officers also discovered more than 50 kilos of amphetamine worth pounds 600,000 in the house Cunningham shared with his wife, Mary, and 14-year-old daughter.

The Dutch authorities claim Cunningham, from Ballyfermot, Dublin, masterminded a huge trade in drugs and weapons bound for Ireland.

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TRIAL: Cunningham
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Publication:The Mirror (London, England)
Date:Feb 10, 2001
Words:215
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