An investigation into allegations a former member of the Garda has been aiding a Dublin drugs gang has been widened to include serving members of the force.
In a significant development reflecting the seriousness of the inquiry, several Garda members have been targeted in searches this week.
No findings of wrongdoing, either criminal or disciplinary in nature, have been arrived at against the serving Garda members or the former officer.
However, the fact serving gardaí are being scrutinised as part of an organised crime investigation related to drug dealing has shocked their colleagues in the force.
News that a former senior Garda officer had been arrested emerged on Wednesday, after five searches were carried out by detectives from the National Bureau of Criminal Investigation, the Garda’s serious crimes squad. During that operation, properties in Dublin were searched and approximately 30kg of cannabis, valued at about €600,000, was seized along with 47,000 in cash.
The Irish Times understands some other searches this week by detectives working on the same investigation targeted a small number of serving Garda members.
The man who was arrested on Wednesday is in his 60s and is long retired from the Garda force, where he had rapidly progressed up the ranks to a senior position.
Garda Headquarters at Phoenix Park in Dublin said he was arrested “on suspicion of involvement in offences... relating to allegedly enhancing the ability of a criminal organisation to commit or facilitate a serious offence”.
One strand of the investigation is focused on whether confidential information about Garda operations was passed to criminals involved in the drugs trade. The retired officer has been questioned at a Garda station in Dublin’s south inner city.
The nature of his contacts, if any, with a small number of serving gardaí is also being examined as detectives try to establish if confidential information held by the Garda was supplied to a crime gang. Mobile phones seized during the searches in Dublin are now being analysed by the investigation team.