Cash seized in CAB raids as part of probe into international rhino-horn smugglers
Fifty gardaí were involved in raids at 11 properties in a major operation investigating the activities of a rhino-horn-smuggling gang.
The Traveller outfit based in Rathkeale, Co Limerick, which has criminal links across Europe and Asia, has been the subject of investigations by police in several international jurisdictions into the illegal rhino horn trade. Vast sums of money are made from the sale of the horns in parts of the world where some believe they possess medicinal qualities.
A significant amount of cash and documents were seized in the raids.
A Garda spokesperson said: "Gardaí from the Criminal Assets Bureau, assisted by local Garda units, carried out a number of searches on foot of search warrants in relation to a CAB investigation, Operation Oakleaf, into an organised crime gang in Rathkeale, Co Limerick.
"The searches were conducted at seven private residences and four premises in the Limerick area.
"CAB officers seized a significant amount of cash as well as a large volume of documents and other evidence related to assets. This evidence will be further examined by specialist Bureau officers. The CAB investigation relates to suspected criminal activity by an organised crime gang in Ireland, the UK and Europe."
Two men, aged 26 and 47, were arrested in connection with "minor public order incidents" which arose as a result of the garda searches.
They were charged at Newcastle West District Court and were bailed to appear again on January 3.