Ten Albanians suspected of running a massive burglary and organised crime ring in Munster and south Leinster were arrested today.
The men, aged between 30 and 44, were detained in a series of raids across six counties following intelligence-led investigations into almost 50 break-ins in the region.
Petrol stations, local stores, financial institutions including post offices, bars, night-spots and a church were all targeted by a burglary gang.
The crimes began in October 2008 and went on until May this year.
A garda spokesman said serious crime officers began investigating a link to organised gangs after detectives spotted a spate of similar break-ins and burglaries in the south and south east.
Specific inquiries focused on thefts at businesses in Carlow, Cork, Kerry, Kilkenny, Limerick, Tipperary, Waterford and Wexford.
The garda spokesman said 49 burglaries were blamed on the gang.
The operation, codenamed Crake, was supported by foreign investigators through the Interpol agency. It is understood it has been running for several months.
The 10 men were taken in for questioning in Waterford, Thurles, Thomastown, New Ross, Mallow and Cahir.
They were held under section 50 of the Criminal Justice Act and can be held for seven days.