CRIME bosses who are believed to have ordered the murder of Real IRA faction leader Alan Ryan are now being targeted by the Criminal Assets Bureau (CAB).
The crime syndicate, which includes some of the biggest gangsters in the State, are currently in the bureau's sights.
One is expected to be hit with a bill for around €500,000.
The aim is to hit them hard in their pockets under the proceeds-of-crime legislation.
CAB hopes to net property worth an estimated €4m on the market, as well as collecting large tax debts.
One gang boss, originally from the northside of Dublin but more recently living closer to the Border, is facing tax debts of up to €500,000.
He is wanted at present on a bench warrant and is believed to be hiding out either in Northern Ireland or in Spain.
Gardai think that he is more likely to be across the Border rather than in Spain, where criminals on the run are becoming more vulnerable because of the large number of Irish gangsters now living there.
A second major gangland figure, also from the capital's northside, has been moving between here and Spain since the murder of Ryan last September.
He and his main henchman, who is in his 30s and from the East Wall area, were stopped and searched in Marrowbone Lane in the south inner city last month.
They have also been questioned since then by the PSNI in the North.
CAB recently seized a high-powered vehicle from the gang boss and is making further inquiries into his assets. The East Wall man is also under investigation over a substantial five-figure tax debt.
The henchman, who has no major criminal convictions, has come up through the ranks in gangland in the past couple of years to become a close associate of his gang leader.
He is regarded as a dangerous criminal, whose volatile temper has resulted in garda arrests for domestic violence and public-order offences.
The 70-strong CAB team, which includes 36 gardai, as well as Revenue and Social Welfare officials and is led by Det Chief Supt Eugene Corcoran, focuses on assets acquired through the proceeds of crime, debts owed to the taxman and social-welfare benefits obtained fraudulently.
Last year, CAB took more than €1m from a former associate of murdered crime figure Martin 'Marlo' Hyland.
It was also successful in the Austrian courts in seizing money belonging to Brian Meehan, who is serving a life sentence for the murder of the journalist Veronica Guerin.
Meehan had lodged money in a bank account in Vienna. After a lengthy court battle, CAB won permission to seize the cash, which, with interest, amounted to €700,000.
The bureau has also played a leading role during the past year in Operation Fiacla, the nationwide crackdown on travelling gangs responsible for a huge upsurge in burglaries in the previous 12 months.
Among those successfully targeted in seizing assets were members of a Dublin gang behind a spate of burglaries and thefts in the Galway-Mayo-Roscommon region; another travelling gang operating out of bases in south and west Dublin; a group smashed by gardai in the south-east following robberies from ATMs; and a gang based in Laois.
Criminals originally from Co Limerick but involved across Europe in an illegal trade in antiques and artefacts, as well as drug traffickers in Limerick city, are also on the 'hit list'.
Racketeers based around the Border who are involved in the oil- and cigarette-smuggling business have already felt the impact of the proceeds-of-crime legislation.
A top target along the Border is a former Provisional IRA activist, who had been heavily involved in gun and bomb attacks in the past and is now reckoned to be netting a fortune from cigarette smuggling through Spain.
He is under investigation for large taxation debts, along with dissidents who are known to be involved in the rackets.
CAB aimed to collect a total of between €6m and €7m in the past year in criminal assets, taxes and social-welfare repayments.