Gardaí have arrested two men at a suspected drug money handover between a member of an eastern European gang operating in the Republic and an Irishman involved in the transportation of cattle overseas.
Some €400,000 in cash was seized at the scene of the handover which was under surveillance by members of the Garda National Drugs & Organised Crime Bureau (GNDOCB).
Following the arrests of the men in Co Wexford on Tuesday follow-up searches were underway at addresses in counties Dublin and Meath.
Gardaí believe the cash seized was owned by an eastern European gang involved in the drugs trade in the Republic. They also suspect the cattle truck driver was collecting the money to bring it out of the country to members of the gang abroad.
Gardaí had placed the suspects under surveillance. When the two men met to carry out the money handover detectives moved in and arrested them while also seizing the money.
The Irish man arrested is 50 years old while the other suspect being questioned, and who is alleged to have brought the money to the scene, is a 35-year-old Polish national.
The Garda said GNDOCB was assisted in the operation by members of a special task force at the crime scene, which was on a lay-by on the N25, near Rosslare.
“This [operation] led to the discovery and seizure of an estimated €400,000 in cash and the arrest of two males, one Irish national aged 50 and the other a Polish national aged 35, arising from suspicion of their involvement in an offence of money laundering,” it said.
“The two arrested men are currently being detained at Wexford Garda station under the provisions of Section 4 of the Criminal Justice Act.
"Investigating officers have undertaken a number of related searches, in Swords, County Dublin and Trim, County Meath. "
Assistant Commissioner John O’Driscoll of Special Crime Operations said the arrests and seizure of the money were part of a wider targeting of organised gangs.
"Removing the proceeds of crime from those involved in serious and organised crime is a particular priority of the Garda Síochána, in its attempt to dismantle organised crime groups that operate at an international level," he said.
“This significant seizure of cash by the Garda National Drugs & Organised Crime Bureau follows closely after another seizure of a substantial quantity of cash, last week, bringing the total amount of cash seized by that bureau, so far in 2020, to about €1 million.”