Four arrested after raids targeting burglary network
Garda members search 11 addresses in Enniscorthy linked to suspected gang members
Four people were being held by the Garda on suspicion of being members of an organised crime gang. File photograph: Cyril Byrne/The Irish Times
Four people were being held by the Garda on Thursday on suspicion of being members of an organised crime gang, following a major search operation targeting a burglary network in the southeast.
Gardaí believe the burglary gang has been gathering intelligence on business premises in the southeast and then targeting them in robberies.
Informed sources said the gang gardaí have moved against in Enniscorthy, Co Wexford, was highly organised and specialised in attacking small businesses where resistance would be minimal.
On Thursday morning from about 5.30am a team of some 50 Garda members began raids at 11 addresses in Enniscorthy linked to suspected members of the gang. The officers involved were drawn from the Garda divisions of Tipperary, Kilkenny, Carlow, Waterford and Wexford.
All four people arrested following the searches are from Romania.
The gang has been under surveillance for some time as a key target of gardaí investigating commercial burglaries under Operation Thor.
Gardaí have stepped up their investigation of the group after an increase in raids on shops and petrol stations in rural areas. The gang involved has targeted mainly cash and cigarettes during the robberies.
“The South-Eastern Regional Armed Support Unit and the Garda Drugs and Organised Crime Bureau were briefed prior to the operation,” the Garda said in a statement.
“The operation is co-ordinated from the South-Eastern Regional Organised Crime Unit under the direction of Det Supt Michael Hennebry. ”
Criminal Justice Act
The arrested suspects – two men in their 40s, a man in his 30s and a woman in her 20s – were being detained at Garda stations in the southeast under Section 50 of the Criminal Justice Act.
They can be detained for up to one week without charge.
The Garda team was searching the properties for stolen goods and cash and also evidence related to particular robberies under investigation and the gang’s activities generally.
During this morning’s operation, the Garda team found a small sum of money, totalling approximately €1,000.
Gardaí also found sat navs, mobile phones, walkie-talkies and financial documents.
Garda sources said the electronic devices would now be analysed to determine if they contained evidence that might link the suspects to recent crimes.
The Garda Dog Unit was deployed in the operation and customs officers from Revenue were also present.