Three arrested gardaí played central roles in jailing violent criminals
Inspector suspended from force, detention of superintendent and garda extended
The officers were arrested on Thursday as part of an inquiry into alleged links between members of the force and a criminal gang. Photograph: Getty Images/THE IRISH TIMES
Three Garda members arrested as part of an inquiry examining the alleged passing of information to a major criminal gang all played frontline roles in jailing some of the most violent criminals in the State.
The three gardaí – a superintendent, inspector and a rank-and-file garda – were central in investigations over the last 10 to 15 years that resulted in several gangland criminals being jailed for up to life.
One of the three suffered a violent attack by a gangland figure but persisted with his inquiries and the suspect was eventually jailed.
The officers were arrested on Thursday as part of an inquiry into alleged links between members of the force and a criminal gang.
Evidence gathered during Garda searches and the examination of telephone activity was put to the three members throughout Thursday following the early-morning arrests.
The criminal gang involved is believed to have previously paid a Garda member about €20,000 for intelligence.
The gang runs a significant illicit drugs wholesaling operation along Ireland’s west and southwest. It has also built a lucrative business selling luxury items, which it has used to launder the proceeds of its drug dealing.
The gang leaders were keen to source information from within the Garda that would enable it to combat investigations into its drug trafficking and, specifically, its wealth. Gardaí also believe the gang members previously corrupted a garda involved in handling criminal informants.
The superintendent was being questioned over the alleged disclosing of information “likely to have a harmful effect”. The inspector was being questioned about alleged breaches of the Misuse of Drugs Act. And the detective garda was arrested for suspected conspiracy to pervert the course of justice.
Last year, suspicions emerged within the Garda that information about Criminal Assets Bureau’s inquiry into the Munster-based crime gang was being leaked to the gang.
An inquiry by the National Bureau of Criminal Investigation, the Garda’s serious crimes squad, was established and the three arrests yesterday arise from that investigation.
One Garda member was already arrested earlier this year as part of the same inquiry. He was released without charge pending further inquiries.
The wider investigation also involves the Garda national drugs and organised crime bureau and was being led by Assistant Commissioner John O’Driscoll.
Last night one of the officers, the inspector, was released, with a file sent to the Director of Public Prosecutions. He was also suspended from the force. The two other officers had their detention extended.