The Criminal Assets Bureau seized 10 vehicles, four Rolex watches, and more than €30,000 in cash in a series of early-morning raids targeting a Cork-based organised crime gang.
The operation has been described as “a major disruption” to the activities of a gang known to be involved in fraud, theft, and deception and is suspected of extorting large sums of money from elderly and vulnerable people.
There were 11 searches carried out in the early hours of yesterday morning, including seven residential premises, one plot of land, and three professional premises.
The raids were carried out as part of Operation Thor, the ongoing Garda operation which targets organised crime gangs. It is one of the biggest raids to have taken place in Co Cork in recent years.
Among the premises searched was a large plot of land at White’s Cross on the northside of Cork city and a city centre solicitors’ premises.
The investigation centres on an organised crime gang made up of members of an extended family based in Co Cork who are involved in fraud, theft, deception, extortion, burglaries and in the sale and supply of controlled drugs.
The gang uses various paving, gardening and landscaping businesses to target elderly and vulnerable persons to deceive them of money. According to gardaí, they use intimidation to charge exorbitant rates for substandard work.
They are suspected of extorting large sums of cash from their victims for unnecessary work and engaging in theft and burglary in the areas where they carry out work.
The items seized included:
10 vehicles, including a Toyota Hilux 181, Toyota Hilux 2015 UK registration, 191 Toyota Landcruiser, Ford Focus Sport 181, Ford Focus 191, Ford Transit 172 and a 162 Kia.
Cash to the value of €31,500
Four Rolex watches
Documentation in relation to the ownership of assets, financial documentation, mobile phones and electronic storage devices.
The items are currently being examined by CAB experts.
CAB carried out the searches in conjunction with gardaí from the local Garda units and other specialised units.
It is understood that more than 200 personnel were involved in the operation, which was supported by specialist dog and horse units, as well as the emergency response unit and the armed support unit.
Garda Detective Chief Superintendent Pat Clavin said: “[The] search operation is a significant development in the CAB investigation and is viewed as a major disruption to the activities of this gang.”