Tuesday 26 September 2017

Four arrested after criminals found with fake passports

Tom Brady

Tom Brady

GARDAI have now made four arrests in connection with an investigation into passport fraud.

Officers are satisfied that two “irregular” passports, which were processed and issued officially, ended up in the possession of criminals.

They believe the passports were to have been used in a major crime that was due to be carried out in the coming weeks.

Three men and a woman, including two officials from the Passport Office, have been questioned by gardai but all have been released without charge.

A file will now be prepared by gardai for the DPP, who will determine if criminal charges should be brought.

The investigation was launched, initially, by the Department of Foreign Affairs in May when internal checks established that there had been “irregularities” in two passports that had been issued officially.

The passports were genuine but included information that was false and were issued to people who should not have been in possession of them.

After preliminary inquiries by the department, it was decided to alert gardai. Officers from the National Bureau of Criminal Investigation were called in early last month.

As a result of the joint investigation, gardai carried out a search on the Dublin-Meath border more than a week ago and detained two suspected criminals for questioning.

Follow-up inquiries led to the arrest of a 30-year-old male employee of the Passport Office at his home in Skerries, shortly after 7am on Tuesday and he was questioned throughout the day at Balbriggan garda station.

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