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Gangsters' cosmetic surgery holiday exposed by receipts found in raids

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'In the massive CAB operation last November, gardaí seized six cars, fake cash and expensive watches as a result of 21 raids across eight
counties.' Stock Image

'In the massive CAB operation last November, gardaí seized six cars, fake cash and expensive watches as a result of 21 raids across eight counties.' Stock Image

Collins Dublin, Gareth Chaney

'In the massive CAB operation last November, gardaí seized six cars, fake cash and expensive watches as a result of 21 raids across eight counties.' Stock Image

A gangland couple splashed out big money from drug-dealing profits on breast implants and weight loss surgery in Turkey, sources have claimed.

Receipts for the surgical procedures were uncovered during a series of Criminal Assets Bureau raids last November, hours after the pair returned from Turkey.

The discovery was revealed after the gang in which the pair are senior members were the subject of more raids in recent days.

During searches on Thursday night, gardaí seized €52,000 worth of drugs.

And as pressure continued to grow on the gang, it emerged that a senior associate was caught "burning a large amount of cash" in his back garden when officers conducted a number of follow-up searches at the weekend following the "highly significant" drugs seizure.

"This is a Longford-based crime gang with links to many other midlands counties as well as Dublin and Cavan. They have been making a fortune from drug dealing," a senior source said.

"Clear evidence of this was seen last year when the home of a married couple who are considered senior members of the organisation was raided in a Criminal Assets Bureau (CAB) operation just hours after the couple returned from a holiday in Turkey.

"Receipts were found which indicated they had paid big money for plastic surgery in Turkey.

"They showed he had gastric band surgery and she had breast implants put in."

In the massive CAB operation last November, gardaí seized six cars, fake cash and expensive watches as a result of 21 raids across eight counties.

Three Rolex watches, €18,600 in cash, a number of fake €20 notes and designer handbags were also seized.

"Money definitely does not seem to be an object to this crew as another of their senior players was caught attempting to burn wads of cash when gardaí raided his home over the weekend after the drugs seizure," the source explained.

Some of the cash and some burnt notes were recovered by gardaí."

Senior sources say that the gang consists of four family groupings based in Co Longford but who are part of a larger family-based network through marriage.

That network has a national reach, especially in counties such as Westmeath.

"For the most part, this gang has kept out of the Longford feud which has seen numerous violent incidents," the source said.

"The accumulation of wealth is their primary motivation."

Gardaí suspect the gang has continued to be involved in organised criminality, particularly drug dealing, since last year's raids.

Earlier this summer, some of the gang members were arrested and questioned by CAB officers under proceeds of crime legislation.

Last Thursday night's seizure was one of the most significant blows against the mob for months, even though there were no arrests made.

"Members of the Longford/Roscommon Divisional Drugs Unit carried out a search of farmlands in the Ballinalee area," a Garda spokeswoman said., adding that "€20,000 worth of suspected cannabis herb was found, along with €16,000 worth of suspected cocaine, and €16,000 worth of suspected ecstasy tablets."

In a separate operation on Saturday morning, gardaí in Longford seized more than €40,000 in cash as part of a money-laundering probe into a gang.

Irish Independent