Drug and tobacco smuggling

International co-operation

The international dimension to drug-trafficking requires the targeted use of resources and techniques to deal with this trans-national crime. Traffickers constantly seek new customers, markets and supply routes. Focused action and the continuous development of national and international co-operation is required between law enforcement agencies charged with combating drug-smuggling and related crime.

The European Union (EU) Drugs Strategy (2013-2020 focuses on reducing money laundering, precursor chemical diversion (for the manufacture of illegal drugs) and effective co-operation between customs, police and prosecuting authorities. Revenue continues to play its part by combating international drug-trafficking and associated activities, and by co-operating with the Criminal Assets Bureau, which includes Revenue officials.

International Liaison Network – Revenue officers assigned abroad

Revenue currently has five officers assigned abroad who are directly involved in the international exchange of information and intelligence. These officers work with our Customs Division and with our Investigations and Prosecutions Division:

  • two officers are assigned to the Permanent Representation in Brussels
  • one officer (Customs Attaché) is assigned to the Irish Embassy in London
  • one officer is assigned to Europol headquarters in The Hague.
  • one officer is assigned to the Maritime Analysis Operations Centre Narcotics (MAOC-N), Lisbon (and also acts as the Customs Liaison Officer for Portugal, Spain and Morocco).

Information sharing

Revenue officers maintain contacts with customs and other enforcement agencies throughout the world by means of international conventions. In addition, the Customs Information System which links the customs services of EU Member States, has been established to facilitate quick and effective exchanges of information regarding suspect movements of people and goods.

Revenue is a member of the MAR-INFO (Maritime Information) Group, comprising over 20 European countries. Members of the group transfer of information on the movement of suspect containers, ships and yachts. In 2007, the Law Enforcement Maritime Analysis Operation Centre – Narcotics (MAOC-N) in Lisbon was established. It is an initiative of seven western European countries (Ireland, Spain, Portugal, France, Italy, the UK and the Netherlands), focused on reducing the threat of cocaine trafficking into the EU.

With the assistance of the Irish Naval Service, Revenue also engages in international maritime operations aimed at identifying, monitoring and intercepting vessels suspected of drug smuggling. Ireland is a signatory to the Europol Convention, which assists Member States in combating organised crime within the EU. A Revenue officer is assigned as a member of the Europol National Unit at Garda headquarters.

Next: Criminal Assets Bureau (CAB)