Tuesday 15 October 2019

Jet skis, phones and Rolex watches seized in raid on gang run from prison

Haul: The jet skis
Haul: The jet skis

Robin Schiller, Ken Foy and Tom Brady

A gang led by a jailed drugs trafficker was the target of the latest operation by the Criminal Assets Bureau, which carried out eight searches in Dublin and Co Wexford targeting his mob.

Two jet skis and four Rolex watches were among the items seized in the raids by the CAB, focusing on gangster Barry Fowler (34) and his close associates.

Fowler, who has links to the Kinahan cartel, is coming to the end of a seven-and-a-half-year sentence imposed in 2015, after a court heard he led gardaí to a van containing more than €370,000 of drugs when he failed to use the indicators on his car.

He is housed in low-security Loughan House open prison in Co Cavan and has just over a year to serve because of standard prison remission.

By being a model inmate, Fowler is entitled to a supervised prison-issue mobile phone which gardaí said was "ironic" as they recovered five miniature mobile phones during their searches yesterday.

"These phones are commonly used to be smuggled into prisons by criminals," a senior source told the Irish Independent.

"Because of their tiny size, they can be very hard to detect."

Fowler's associates who were targeted yesterday and include women, are more likely to be upset that the CAB froze €17,000 in a bank account linked to the gang. The two seized jet skis were taken from a property in the Oylgate area of Co Wexford while the four Rolexes were seized from a Tallaght address.

Addresses in Clondalkin and Ronanstown were also targeted but no arrests were made. Documents relating to property bought in Ireland and abroad were found and a solicitor's and accountant's offices were also visited by the bureau.

"The search operation is a significant development in the context of an ongoing investigation targeting property acquired with the proceeds of crime by an organised crime gang involved in the sale and supply of controlled drugs," a CAB spokesperson said.

It was also revealed that in 2017, local gardaí in Tallaght seized just under €100,000 in cash from the same gang as part of the same investigation.

At Dublin Circuit Court in June 2015, Fowler pleaded guilty to unlawful possession of a sawn-off shotgun and 9mm bullets as well as the drugs haul after a major investigation.

The gangster has been in custody since he was arrested at Shannon Airport in April of that year in possession of a false passport. The father-of-one has previous convictions for road traffic matters, common assault and a three-year sentence for dangerous driving causing death from 2005.

Irish Independent

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