CAB seizes luxury cars during probe into drugs gang
Members of a notorious Dublin drug trafficking gang and their associates hold semi-regular draws for cars worth up to €50,000.
Each ticket costs several hundred euro and the winner of the draw is determined by the bonus number drawn in that week's national lottery.
It's one of a number of scams used by the gang, known as The Family, and supporters to launder the proceeds of crime and explain how people with what appears to be low incomes can drive high powered, expensive cars.
But the group's activities have been under investigation by the Criminal Assets Bureau and 20 targeted premises were raided from early morning yesterday, while another three were visited by agreement.
As a result of the operation, the CAB has secured a court order to freeze €312,000 in several bank accounts.
Officers also recovered more than €65,000 in cash, some of it in sterling, 21 cars, a dozen high value watches and a quantity of illegal growth hormones.
A large volume of documentation and computer records were also confiscated.
The searches were concentrated on the Clondalkin, Ronanstown and Ballyfermot areas, and parts of south county Dublin and the south inner city.
Five car dealerships were raided and another three visited by officers, while the offices of six professional firms and nine homes were also searched.
Watches seized included a number of Rolex, Michael Kors and Tag Heuer.
The main targets of the operation are suspected members of groups, who are concealing cash and providing logistical support to The Family.
Gardaí say The Family is one of the biggest drug importation and distribution gangs in the capital and it has had links in the past to the Kinahan cartel.
Some of The Family gang are also believed to be involved in cocaine and crack cocaine distribution and have links to the drugs scene in Spain.
Members of the CAB were backed up in the searches by the heavily armed Emergency Response Unit, the Special Crime Task Force, the Armed Support Unit and local gardaí from three Dublin divisions - West, South and South Central.