CAB raids in Monaghan target men suspected in Essex truck deaths
High-end BMWs, trucks and cash seized at homes and businesses
The Criminal Assets Bureau posted on pictures of some of the items seized on its Facebook page
The Criminal Assets Bureau has raided the homes and business premises of two Irish men suspected of involvement in the deaths of 39 Vietnamese migrants as they were being smuggled into a port in Essex.
The investigation into the two men has been ongoing since the autumn of last year as they have long been suspected of smuggling contraband cigarettes, alcohol and illicit drugs.
While they were not suspected of people smuggling when the Cab investigation into them began over a year ago, they are now at the centre of a major international investigation arising from the deaths of the 39 victims late last month.
While the two men are targets of both, the Cab investigation is unconnected with Essex Police’s inquiry into the deaths of the migrants.
In Co Monaghan on Thursday a large team of gardaí, led by Cab’s officers raided 10 premises - seven homes and three yards and industrial sheds.
The premises were raided on a warrant and followed a significant amount of covert investigation over the past year into the assets of the suspects.
Cab seized two BMW X5 SUVs, a VW Transporter Crew Cab and a Mitsubishi Shogun. The vehicles were taken on suspicion they represent the proceeds of crime, namely the cross-border smuggling of contraband.
Of more significance was the seizure of financial documents and records and electronic devices. These were now due to be analysed by Cab in a bid to identify any cash deposits, property purchases and other assets or money transfers in recent years.
A small amount of cash was also seized during the raids, comprising €1,400, $900 and £600.
The raids at the Co Monaghan sites were conducted as part of Cab’s investigation mainly targeting two brothers with addresses in the North and the Republic.
The homes of those two men were searched and while other houses were also searched, these were targeted because they are linked to the men rather than because the people living in those properties are themselves suspects.
The Cab operation also involved the armed Emergency Response Unit, the Garda’s Stolen Motor Vehicle Investigation Unit, Revenue’s Customs Dog Unit and the Garda National Immigration Bureau.
No arrests were made.
Sources said the main aim of the raids was to find financial records and data as well as confiscating any assets suspected of being the proceeds of crime.
Garda sources said its stolen car unit was involved as a large number of vehicles were being checked to ensure they had not been stolen and their identities changed or cloned.
As well as the 10 searches on Thursday, an operation targeting the same men was also carried out in Dublin on Tuesday.
The raids targeted a network headed by two men who are suspected of organising the transportation of the migrants across the English Channel from Zeebrugge and Essex.
Two trucks with trailers were seized by Cab in Dublin Port on Tuesday on suspicion they represent the proceeds of crime. One of the vehicles is registered in Northern Ireland and the other is registered in Bulgaria, though it is Irish-owned.