Gardai have seized a shipping container full of fake perfume which had been destined for the Irish market after arriving here from China.
The seizure was made by officers from the Drugs and Organised Crime Bureau in a top-secret operation in Dundalk, Co Louth, last week when a ship arrived at the port.
Sources said detectives have been investigating the counterfeit smuggling operations of a veteran dissident republican from Louth and his business partner from Newry, Co Down.
The fake perfume was packaged as legitimate high-end brands, but when tested it proved to be “generic Chinese toilet water in specialist packs”.
Gardai seized the fake perfume last Wednesday, but have not yet made any arrests.
“The fake perfume would have been worth scores of thousands of euro to the cross- border gang who were involved in the enterprise.
“These individuals are veteran dissident republicans who have been involved in smuggling for years,” a source said.
Gardai have been involved in a number of operations targeting counterfeit goods in recent months.
Only days before Christmas, officers seized €30,000 worth of counterfeit clothing and €25,000 in cash during planned raids in the capital targeting a Dublin man who is believed to be heavily involved in the illegal trade.
The Crumlin man was not arrested, but sources said he may well face future prosecution.
Earlier last month, the Herald revealed that customs officers impounded a huge consignment of hair straighteners at Dublin Port in an operation targeting a north inner city gang.
In November, it emerged that two containers holding 59,000 bottles of counterfeit perfumes and aftershaves were intercepted at Dublin Port in a €2m seizure.
Gardai previously ran an investigation called Operation Camac which was set up in 2011 to target those involved in the production, distribution and sale of counterfeit merchandise.
Separately, gardai and customs officers have identified at least four separate crime groupings who are making millions of euro each year by importing illegal cigarettes which are yielding them profits of more than 900pc .