Gardai should call in its helicopter resources to fight the drugs war in Donegal. That's the call from anti drugs campaigner PJ Blake yesterday as he reacted to the discovery of the county's fourth cannabis factory in the space of the past 12 months.
An undercover operation involving the Letterkenny Drugs Unit and uniformed gardai in Ballybofey on Thursday night busted an illegal operation.
They discovered a total of 55 cannabis plants worth approximately €22,000, 84 esctasy tablets worth €420 and two ounces of cannabis grass.
Superintendent Vincent O'Brien revealed the operation consisted of a hydroponic farm in the cellar of the house at Beechwood Avenue.
He confirmed a 31 year old Lithuanian national had been arrested at the scene and was being questioned about the find under the Drug Trafficking Act.
He confirmed this was the fourth such operation discovered in the county inside the past 12 months - the other factories were in Carrigans, Bundoran and Raphoe.
Supt O'Brien appealed to the public to report anything suspicious including windows blocked out with black plastic bags, ESB metres tampered with or anything suspicious.
However Mr Blake went a step further. He said the Garda Commissioner should deploy helicopters with heat seeking equipment to detect drug factories.
"It's a well known fact that these operations need a lot of heat.
"At this time of the year roofs with no snow on them are suspicious.
"Why don't the gardai use helicopters to spot such buildings and at least investigate them.
"It could give them the upper hand in the war on drug barons and by the looks of things there's plenty of these factories about."
Mr Blake added the authorities shouldn't wait to react to a tragedy.
"Get the copters out, at least eliminate suspicious buildings and take the fight to these pushers," he said.