Gardai get gangsters' luxury motors
ELITE gardai are now using luxury armour-plated BMWs seized from gangsters in their fight against crime.
Two armour-plated cars believed to have cost more than €350,000 were recovered by the Criminal Assets Bureau (CAB) last year.
The BMW X5 series 4x4s were made to order and imported from Germany by notorious Limerick gangsters.
But after CAB handed the bullet-proof vehicles over to the Exchequer, Finance Minister Brian Lenihan ordered that they be given to the force.
It is understood both cars are used by the Garda's elite emergency response unit (ERU), which is based at the Special Detective Unit in Harcourt Street, Dublin.
The ERU backs up other specialist units as well as uniformed officers during risky operations against violent gangland criminals at trouble spots around the capital as well as in Limerick.
The cars were seized as part of Operation Platinum, under which CAB also recovered several other cars in Limerick.
The donation of the specialised SUVs to the Garda was revealed in CAB's annual report for 2009, which was published yesterday.
Meanwhile, new proposals to strengthen the law underpinning the operations of CAB were promised yesterday.
Justice Minister Dermot Ahern pledged that the bureau would continue with the full support of the Government and the general public to prevent those involved in serious crime benefiting from the proceeds of their illegal activity.
CAB's annual report for 2009 reveals it collected more than €5m in taxes and interest and obtained more than €15m in interim and final orders.
Since it was set up, the bureau has seized millions of euro in assets including €130m as a result of orders obtained under proceeds of crime, €129m in revenue and €4.9m as a result of social welfare actions.