Three held in Limerick raids released from custody

The three men aged in their 20s arrested in connection with a series of raids in Limerick have been released from custody.

Gardaí said files are being prepared for the Director of Public Prosecutions.

The offices of solicitors and accountants were among more than 150 premises searched this morning in a massive swoop codenamed 'Operation Platinum'.

Most of the dawn raids centred on trouble hotspots around Limerick city which has been plagued by tit-for-tat killings in a long-running bloody feud between rival underworld factions.

Two guns, a rifle and a handgun, a small amount of ammunition and drugs - mostly cocaine and ecstasy – were seized.

A car, a motorcycle and more than €100,000 worth of cash were also recovered.

Two of the men arrested were held in relation to firearms and drugs offences while one was detained for obstructing detectives.

Investigators are now sifting through a huge amount of documentation and computer equipment lifted during the searches.

There is no suggestion that solicitors or accountants targeted are complicit in any criminal activity but it is believed the records retained by them could provide crucial links in a paper trail connecting gangsters to assets.

A property in neighbouring Co Clare and one in Co Tipperary as well a number of properties in north Dublin were also searched.

The homes of some of Limerick’s most feared gangsters, as well as their associates and houses belonging to other criminal figures not directly linked to the city’s two main gangs, were among 120 private residences targeted.

Officers involved in the searches were backed up by the Garda elite Emergency Response Unit (ERU) which was recently deployed onto the streets of Limerick to deal with the surging violence.

Tensions have been high in the city since the killing of two men last month believed to be linked to the rivalry between two gangs.

Uniformed and armed detective units from Cos Limerick, Cork, Kerry, Clare, Tipperary and Dublin were involved in the wave of raids while back-up from the Criminal Assets Bureau, the National Bureau of Criminal Investigation, the Garda Bureau of Fraud Investigation and the Garda National Drugs Units was drafted in from Dublin.

The Organised Crime Unit, the Garda Technical Bureau, the Garda Dog Unit and Garda Air Support Unit were also involved.

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