Thursday 23 May 2019

CAB swoops on family crime gang who target the elderly

Cash, high-value cars and gold Rolex watches seized in Garda raids

Search: Gardaí and members of the CAB examine a vehicle during the raids in Cork
Search: Gardaí and members of the CAB examine a vehicle during the raids in Cork
Seized: Garda handout photos show cash that was found during raids as part of Operation Thor in Cork yesterday

Ralph Riegel

High-end vehicles, cash and Rolex watches were seized in a series of raids targeting a feared organised crime gang in Cork.

The gang, based in Cork city, is composed of members of an extended family and is suspected to have been involved in burglaries, theft, fraud, extortion, handling stolen property and recent attacks which have terrorised the elderly across Munster.

More than 50 gardaí, Criminal Assets Bureau (CAB) officers and members of the Revenue Commission were involved in the Operation Thor raids, which targeted properties across the northside of Cork city and adjacent county areas.

Searches were also supported by specialist Garda dog units.

A total of 11 raids were conducted on seven residential properties, a large plot of land and three professional offices including both solicitors and accountants. Following the searches, a total of 10 vehicles were seized.

These included high-end Toyota 4x4s, including LandCruisers and Hiluxs, a number of which were 2018 and 2019 registered. One vehicle had UK registration plates.

Gardaí also found cash to the value of €31,500 and four gold Rolex watches believed to be worth almost €25,000.

One Garda source said that the primary focus of the raid was documentation and computer records.

In this regard, a large quantity of documentation was being examined, as well as computer and mobile phone devices.

The operation was planned for several weeks and was triggered by the escalating operation of the gang across Cork, Waterford, Tipperary and Kerry.

Detective Chief Superintendent Pat Clavin said it was "a significant operation".

"This morning's search operation is a significant development in the CAB investigation and is viewed as a major disruption of the activities of this gang," he said.

A major element of the operation was intelligence-led and backed up by surveillance of key properties and individuals.

Searches of specific properties continued throughout the day.

It is understood the gang is suspected of being involved in burglary, theft, drug dealing, handling of stolen property and even extortion.

Most notoriously, the gang has targeted the elderly.

"This organised crime gang uses various paving, gardening and landscaping businesses to target the elderly and vulnerable people to deceive them of money," a Garda spokesperson said.

"They use intimidation to instil fear into their victims and charge exorbitant rates for substandard work.

"They are also suspected of extorting large sums of cash from elderly and vulnerable people for unnecessary work."

Irish Independent

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