Two men remain in garda custody following the seizure of cocaine worth €8.4 million which was flown into Co Longford on a private plane yesterday.

A quiet remote airfield in Abbeyshrule was used by a transnational organised crime gang to land a substantial quantity of drugs into the country.

Under Operation Tara, two cars were stopped in the Lough Owel area of Co Westmeath shortly after 6pm yesterday.

In one of the cars they found six hold-alls and one suitcase, with 120kg of cocaine wrapped in green tape, which is estimated to be worth €8.4m.

The drugs were produced in South America and smuggled into Europe. They were flown to Longford yesterday in a Cessna light aircraft, before they were transferred to a waiting car.

Follow-up searches were carried out at houses in Naas, Co Kildare, and Waterford city, and at the airfield, where the aircraft was seized. Several communications devices were also found.

Gardaí believe the plane that brought the cocaine to Ireland took off in France and that the Kinahan organised crime gang is behind the sophisticated smuggling operation.

The operation was led by the Drugs and Organised Crime Bureau and they are liaising with international law enforcement agencies.

Two men, aged 40 and 54, were arrested on suspicion of drug trafficking and are being held at Ashbourne Garda Station in Co Meath.