Tuesday 22 January 2019

Louth has third highest CAB 'targets' being investigated

25 investigations are underway in Louth
25 investigations are underway in Louth

Olivia Ryan

Louth has the third highest number of 'targets' currently being investigated by the Criminal Assets Bureau, it emerged at a presentation to the Louth Joint Policing forum.

The local figures were presented to the JPC by Detective Chief Supt. Patrick Calvin, Chief Bureau Officer, who said that the number of cases were the highest in Louth outside of Limerick and the Greater Dublin area.

'The number of investigations is quite significant for Louth, given its size.'

He explained that there were currently seven 'profilers' who are members of the gardai trained in profiling potential CAB targets.

There are currently 25 full investigations within the Louth Garda division, with a further 10 preliminary cases being looked into by CAB.

Detective Chief Supt. Patrick Calvin explained that they were appealing to the public to report anyone whose lifestyle they suspect might be supported by crime.

He added that this might, for example, include someone who they suspected was dealing drugs.

A CAB investigation could see them being relieved of some of the proceeds of crime, such as a top of the range sports car, or SUV.

'An investigation could remove them of this vehicle, which would have a positive effect on the community,' said Det. Chief Supt. Calvin.

He urged people to report cases where they genuinely believe crime is funding a particular lifestyle, and wanted to assure the public that no one who makes a report 'will ever be asked by the Criminal Assets Bureau to give evidence in court.'

'We have out own officers trained to carry out their investigations, so anyone who makes an initial report will not be asked to go to court.'

He said that a significant number of initial reports made to CAB are anonymous, but that in many cases this will be enough to make officers aware of certain individuals who are benefiting financially from crime.

And he said that it was 'wrong to assume that CAB will only investigate cases where huge sums of money are involved, pointing out that the smallest seizure made by CAB was an SUV value at €10,000, and the largest was over €2.7 million.

He added that both nationally, and locally in Louth, the largest number of cases involve individuals suspected to making profit from the sale of illegal drugs.

Dundalk JPC member Pat McVeigh asked if CAB shared information with agencies such as the local authority, particularly when the local authority might have tenants who are engaged in these activities.

Det. Chief Supt Calvin said that the bureau will share information where it can, with relevant bodies.

Cllr. Maria Doyle added that she was shocked to hear of the large number of cases CAB are investigating in Louth, given its small size compared to other counties.

Chief Supt. Calvin agreed, saying there were some aspects which were unique to Louth, in particular the diesel laundering trade operating along the border.

Drugs represented 35% of the origin of their investigations in Louth while fraud and smuggling resulted in 25% of cases being opened by CAB. Proceeds from burglaries led to around 8% of investigations.

Cllr. Richie Culhane said fuel smuggling was a major problem in Louth, and represented major environmental risks for Louth County Council, who are also faced with the responsibility of cleaning up after containers storing the laundered fuel are dumped.

Det. Chief Supt. Calvin said CAB were making progress in this area, adding that a recent high court case was taken.

'This was an historic case, but it gave a full picture of the whole illicit trade that straddles the border.'

Cllr. Oliver Tully asked what impact Brexit is likely to have on CAB, given the often cross border and international nature of their investigations.

Det. Chief Supt. Calvin said that 'all the signs from UK police forces was that they want to continue the levels of co-operation that exist now.'

Cllr. Maeve Yore asked about the possibility of more profilers being trained in Louth

The Chief Supt. of the Louth Garda division, Christy Mangan, said he was happy with the current number of profilers, at 7. But he added that it is only part of their work, and they would have to continue with other duties at the same time.

Council chairman, Cllr. Markey, thanked the CAB representatives, saying the work of the bureau had been a 'game changer' in terms of tackling the proceeds of crime.

The Argus