Cars, cash and counterfeit clothes seized in Cab operation in Cork

Bank account frozen and documentation taken from solicitor and accountant as gang targetted

 

High powered vehicles, tens of thousand of euro in cash, and counterfeit designer clothes were seized on Wednesday when the Criminal Assets Bureau (Cab) mounted its largest ever operation in Co Cork.

About 40 Cab and armed Emergency Response Unit officers travelled from Dublin to team up with some 60 officers from Cork before the morning raid at a property valued at some €2.5 million at Whites Cross, just north of the city.

The operation targetted a man in his 40s who is believed to be the principal figure in a crime gang. He was away at wedding when gardaí called.

Officers seized nine vehicles, worth an estimated €250,000 to €300,000, including a 191 Toyota Land Cruiser and two Toyota Hilux pickup trucks.

Officers seized €14,000 in cash at the property, as well as a further €17,000 cash at second property near Blackpool. A further €57,000, which was in a bank account, has been frozen pending a court hearing. Six Rolex watches believed to be worth several thousand euro each were also seized.

Cab also hopes to make a court application to take possession of some of the properties, including the house valued at €2.5 million.

Officers also raided other properties belonging to members of the same family at Whites Cross and at Dublin Pike. Further raids were carried out on houses in Churchfield and Knocknaheeny, where gardaí seized more than 50 counterfeit pairs of Ugg boots as well as designer shoes and handbags. A livestock trailer was also seized.

Solicitors

Documentation was also taken during a raid on a firm of solicitors and a firm of accountants in Cork city which had been used by the family.

A man was also arrested in relation to a previous bench warrant and gardaí say the investigations are continuing.

The gang, who travel the country carrying out construction work, are suspected of theft and deception by ordering building supplies on credit and then refusing to pay for them. They are suspected to have extorted money from vulnerable elderly people by pressuring them into paying for needless, substandard home repair work or gardening.

They are also suspected of involvement in a spate of burglaries across the country while one branch of the family is also suspected of drug dealing, supplying cannabis and cocaine in Cork city.

Garda dog handlers were involved in the search operation along with the Garda Horse Unit, which was on hand in case gardaí had to deal with horses belonging to the gang.

Some of the crime gang have received sentences for violent disorder in a Cork pub while another member of the extended family is currently before the courts on a serious charge related to a fatality.

“This gang were beginning to flash their wealth in recent times with their high powered cars and Rolex watches and they really were starting to become very ostentatious so a decision was taken to have a closer look at them and that’s what today’s raids were all about,” said one garda source.

“They use intimidation to instil fear into their victims and charge exorbitant rates for substandard work. They are suspected of extorting large sums of cash from elderly and vulnerable persons for unnecessary work and engage in Theft and Burglary in the areas where they carry out work.”

Det Chief Supt Pat Clavin of Cab said the search operation was “a significant development” and is viewed as “a major disruption to the activities of this gang”.