Fleet of 115 vehicles valued at €2.8m seized in one of CAB’s biggest ever raids

Cash and Rolex seized in Limerick and bank account frozen

 

A fleet of 115 vehicles valued at €2.8 million has been seized in one of the biggest raids by the Criminal Assets Bureau (Cab) since its inception over 20 years ago.

The cars were taken from a Limerick car garage on Friday morning on suspicion they represent the proceeds of crime.

Cab officers also found and seized €43,000 in cash as well as £1,000 sterling and a Rolex watch. They have also frozen a bank account containing about €30,000.

The vehicles include Mercedes, BMW, VW and Audi cars, including luxury models.

The man who owns the car garage is Cab’s main target and gardaí suspect his car garage has been used to launder the proceeds of crime.

His house was also searched as well as the home of one of his close associates. Both houses are in Limerick county. A car garage in a town in Tipperary was also raided as well as an accountant’s office in Limerick city and two solicitors’ officers in Co Limerick.

One raid was also carried out in Dublin on what sources described as the offices of a finance company.

The main suspect targeted is the owner of the garage from which the fleet of vehicles is being taken.

That suspect, who is from Co Limerick and is also well-known in sporting circles, was arrested in January on suspicion he had been involved in the corruption of a Garda member. That garda in question was arrested for questioning on the same day.

The suspect, and his associate whose home was also raided on Friday morning, are both closely linked to the Rathkeale Rovers crime gang based in Rathkeale, Co Limerick.

The Cab led Friday’s dawn raid on members of a what gardaí believe is an organised crime gang involved in the drugs trade.

Friday’s operation was part of the investigation into suspicions that the organised crime gang has been laundering the proceeds of drug dealing through the garage that has been raided.

They are also the latest crime gang being investigated by Cab on suspicion of using the new and second-hand car market as a front for national and international drug dealing.

The bureau is currently nearing the end of its investigation into Dublin-based members of the Kinahan crime cartel.

Some of the key suspects had set up car sales businesses to launder the proceeds of their drug dealing and also give themselves the appearance of having legitimate incomes.

They were also using luxury vehicles, some valued at up to €150,000, as payment for drugs. This was being facilitated by working with other drugs gangs in the UK that had also established car garages there.

During Friday morning’s operation a large team of gardaí from a number of Garda units that tackle organised crime raided properties in Limerick, Tipperary and Dublin.

Garda members used cutting equipment to gain access to one business where vehicles were on sale as armed Emergency Response Unit (ERU) officers took up position outside the property.

As well as Cab and the ERU, the raids across the three counties on Friday morning also involved the Garda National Drugs and Organised Crime Bureau; the Garda Stolen Motor Vehicle Investigation Unit; the Garda Technical Bureau and the Garda Dog Unit.

The car garage that was raided is in Limerick city where the targets of the operation are also based.