Two more arrested in brothel ring inquiry as net widens
GARDAI investigating a prostitution ring which netted profits of up to €70,000 a week have arrested two more people in connection with the racket.
Last week the Carlow man who controlled the network of 35 brothels located here, in Northern Ireland and in Wales, was jailed after he admitted running the criminal empire.
Thomas 'TJ' Carroll (48) was sent to prison for seven years, while his South African partner, Shamiela Clark (32), was jailed for three-and-a-half years for running the network from their home in Pembrokeshire in Wales.
Carroll's daughter, Toma, was sentenced to two years in jail for her part in laundering the profits but was freed immediately by the judge at Cardiff Crown Court because of the time she had spent in custody awaiting trial.
The sentences were the culmination of a lengthy investigation, codenamed Operation Abbey, led by Det Supt Dominic Hayes, who was then in charge of the organised crime unit.
Now gardai have made two further arrests, detaining a man on suspicion of raping one of the prostitutes used in the network, and a woman suspected of organising prostitution.
Files have been prepared by gardai for the Director of Public Prosecutions, who will determine if criminal charges should be brought against the suspects.
The man and woman are regarded by gardai as having played key roles in the money-spinning racket.
Gardai launched Operation Abbey in 2007 after studying the outcome of a previous investigation focused on Carroll and his activities.
It culminated in raids on nine brothels in Cavan, Drogheda, Athlone, Mullingar, Sligo, Kilkenny, Enniscorthy, Newbridge and Waterford in December 2008.
The Criminal Assets Bureau and its counterparts in other jurisdictions are preparing to seize properties allegedly purchased by the pair with the proceeds of prostitution.
They have already identified two properties in Carlow, one each in Wales and Cyprus, two in Bulgaria and three in South Africa, as well as a partly constructed holiday home in Mozambique.
Gardai have also seized €230,000 in cash.
The organisers used women trafficked here from South America, Nigeria and Portugal.
The trafficked women were told they could not refuse a client, were required to be available from 10am to 1am, seven days a week, and were told they had to telephone when a client arrived and left to ensure that Carroll could keep account of their profits and that they were not taking clients "on the side".