Wednesday 19 December 2018

CAB squad targeting leaders of 20 vicious burglary gangs

Cash seized in raids by Criminal Assets Bureau officers
Cash seized in raids by Criminal Assets Bureau officers
Tom Brady

Tom Brady

The Criminal Assets Bureau (CAB) is targeting the leaders of 20 crime gangs believed responsible for a major portion of the burglaries that have plagued the nation over the past five years.

A dossier has been compiled on the assets of the targeted figures and some cases are already before the courts.

The main culprits are either Dublin criminals or members of travelling gangs, who are behind the bulk of the rural crimes.

Most of the recent rural burglaries are being carried out by travelling gangs based in west and south Dublin, as well as two other outfits based in Laois and on the Kildare-Laois border, and others with links to Limerick.

The assets under the spotlight are worth several million euro and CAB’s inquiries are based mainly on the information supplied to it from Operation Thor, the anti-burglary initiative launched in November 2015, and the various units attached to the serious crime operations section. The bureau has also expanded its network of divisional assets profilers, small units which focus on local criminals and then send files on for assessment to CAB.

The head of CAB, Det Chief Supt Pat Clavin, said: “We have now trained 302 divisional asset profilers, of which 279 are in the Garda and the rest are in Revenue and Customs or the Department of Social Protection, and they look at potential targets for us right around the country.”

Chief Supt Clavin and other officers have also been briefing joint policing committees in various local authority areas to encourage locals to play their part in getting out the message about hitting criminals in their pockets.

A full-time asset profiling unit has been established in Dublin’s north inner city area, covered by Store Street Garda station, while others operate part-time and are based in all of the cities and major towns, and also along the Border.

Dublin criminals account for 45pc of the targets, while the rest are spread around the provinces, mostly in the bigger urban centres.

CAB investigations have resulted in more than doubling the number of cases before the courts.

Current inquiries include a huge crackdown on a dozen suspected associates of the Kinahan cartel, with seizures involving several houses, over 20 vehicles and a large haul of cash that has been frozen.

During 2017, CAB also targeted an organised crime gang, run by two brothers originally from west Dublin and two brothers believed to be Kinahan associates in south Dublin.

The bureau also finalised its legal fight over the past two decades against convicted drug trafficker John Gilligan by seizing the remaining part of his property portfolio.

Amendments introduced in 2016 to the Proceeds of Crime legislation have strengthened the powers of CAB to strike against mid-level criminals by reducing the threshold for goods that can be seized from €13,000 to €5,000, as well as giving the bureau the authority to detain property for 24 hours, and the chief bureau officer can then extend that detention for a further 21 days while preparing an application to the High Court for an interim restraining order and prevent its disposal in the meantime.

The amended legislation has been used eight times in CAB seizures since it was introduced.

The size of the bureau has been expanded recently with additional gardaí and Revenue officials attached to it while a six-strong unit from the Chief State Solicitor’s Office has been located within the bureau’s headquarters to provide immediate legal services.

Det Chef Supt Clavin said: “We have been going through a particularly busy period in November and December with significant asset seizures for five weeks in a row and we will continue our operations against those involved in a range of crimes, from drug trafficking to burglaries, fraud and organised prostitution, as well as dissident republicans.”

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