Criminal Assets Bureau target significant player in cross-Border smuggling

62-year-old is focus of Cab inquiry into property portfolio in Ireland and UK

Cab officers were backed up during the raids by armed members of the Garda Emergency Response Unit. File photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

Cab officers were backed up during the raids by armed members of the Garda Emergency Response Unit. File photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

 

Detectives from the Criminal Assets Bureau (Cab) are set to analyse documents and data on electronic devices which were seized during raids on eight properties linked to a major smuggling gang in Border counties.

The co-ordinated searches in counties Monaghan and Cavan are part of an investigation into the assets of a former Provisional IRA member.

Gardaí believe he is a significant figure in cross-Border smuggling who has acquired property in Ireland and the UK.

Investigators are attempting to establish how much property he holds with a view to trying to confiscate it under the Proceeds of Crime Act.

The 62-year-old is linked to a number of premises, including yards, south of the Border in Co Monaghan.

Of the eight properties raided by the Cab’s officers on Wednesday, six were residential addresses and two were the offices of companies gardaí believe were engaged by the man, a convicted terrorist and smuggler, when investing in property.

While property-related documentation was the main focus of the Cab’s raids, officers from the bureau also found evidence of cross-Border smuggling during the searches.

They also seized cash amounting to €10,000 in euro and sterling denominations as well as a commercial-scale quantity of the erectile dysfunction drug Viagra. Evidence of tobacco and alcohol smuggling was also found during the operation.

Documents, mobile phones and electronic devices, believed to contain information about property deals, were also taken by officers from the bureau. These will now be examined as officers try to find evidence of money laundering and properties bought with the proceeds of crime.

The Cab’s officers were backed up during the raids by armed members of the force’s Emergency Response Unit.

Gardaí believe the man is a significant figure in the cross-Border smuggling of cigarettes, an illicit business that has flourished for more than a decade. The trade involves cigarettes being smuggled into the State without being declared for the purposes of paying taxes and duties. They can be purchased in bulk abroad for less than €1 per pack of 20 cigarettes. With a retail price of more than €10 in Irish shops, the smuggled packs of cigarettes are sold for about half that sum on the black market, delivering a large profit for the gangs involved.

“This operation centres on an organised crime gang operating in the Border region with Northern Ireland,” An Garda Síochána said in a statement on the Cab operation.

“They are heavily involved in the importation and distribution of illegal cigarettes and counterfeit goods. No arrests have been made and investigations are continuing.”