Friday 28 July 2017

Gardaí quiz four over 'campaign of extortion'

Officers from Gorey Garda Station, backed up by members of the South-Eastern Divisional Armed Support Unit, swooped on a number of individuals across Co Wexford early yesterday morning
Officers from Gorey Garda Station, backed up by members of the South-Eastern Divisional Armed Support Unit, swooped on a number of individuals across Co Wexford early yesterday morning

Robin Schiller and Ryan Nugent

Gardaí investigating an alleged extortion campaign against an innocent businessman whose son was falsely imprisoned have arrested four people with the assistance of a heavily armed support unit.

The gang has repeatedly been targeting the entrepreneur in an attempt to extort money from him.

In one incident, the man's son was allegedly held against his will for a number of hours in a car.

Officers from Gorey Garda Station, backed up by members of the South-Eastern Divisional Armed Support Unit, swooped on a number of individuals across Co Wexford early yesterday morning.

The arrests are in connection with an investigation into false imprisonment, blackmail and criminal damage between January 25 and February 3 of this year.

A number of premises in the Enniscorthy and Gorey areas were searched, with four people taken into a custody.

Two men, aged 25 and 33, as well as a 31-year-old woman were last night being detained at Enniscorthy and Wexford Garda stations.

Another woman, aged 48, who was detained at Gorey Garda station, was released ­without charge yesterday evening. ­Gardaí said a file is being ­prepared for the Director of Public Prosecutions.

Speaking to the Irish Independent last night, the victim said he will not be intimidated by "wannabe gangsters".

Intimidated

"I refuse to be intimidated by a bunch of people who are basically just muppets. They're wannabe gangsters, and no more," he said.

The businessman said the group attempted to extort more than €20,000 from him, before dropping the demand to €2,500.

"I told them they wouldn't be getting a penny from me. Then they came back looking for €4,500, or they would kill my son," he said.

Commenting on the arrests, he said the ordeal has affected his family but there is relief in knowing arrests have been made. The gang had claimed they were being led by 'Buffalo' Billy Clare, a well-known ­criminal from Co Wexford.

Clare served a sentence for membership of the Continuity IRA after a court heard he had extorted money from club boss Dave Mooney on behalf of the organisation.

However, sources said Billy Clare was not one of the four individuals arrested.

Irish Independent

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