€2m-a-year illegal oil laundering operation uncovered
A double oil laundering plant capable of processing four million litres of fuel a year has been uncovered after an operation involving customs officers and gardai.
The find was made yesterday after gardai had earlier pursued a mobile plant in a truck, which failed to stop outside Dundalk.
Officers discovered one laundering plant in a shed and another concealed in a 40ft container, when they searched a commercial premises at Rathmore, Kilcurry, outside the town.
Four lorries, a jeep, 18,000 litres of marked mineral oil, a tanker containing 6,000 litres of laundered fuel, a trailer with a concealed tank for the transport of fuel, bleaching earth and ancillary equipment were also confiscated in the Customs raid.
Officers estimated that the annual capacity of the double plant represented a potential loss to the Exchequer of €2m.
Gardai said last night that those involved in the illegal operation had no direct links to dissident republicans.
In a separate operation yesterday, Customs officers stopped an oil tanker, containing 19,000 litres of smuggled fuel, as it travelled southwards on the M1.
The interception was said to be part of an ongoing Revenue operation to tackle fuel fraud and a local man in his 20s was arrested.
A Revenue spokeswoman last night reminded motorists of the risks posed to their vehicles by using laundered fuel.