The Criminal Assets Bureau (CAB) is boosting its presence nationwide by expanding its network of local asset profilers.
It aims to intensify the crackdown on organised crime gangs operating outside Dublin while still maintaining its focus on the major players in the capital and surrounding counties.
Senior officers told the Herald that the CAB has now trained a total of 470 local asset profilers and intends to recruit 100 more by the end of the year.
The development was revealed as the Department of Justice published the CAB's new four-year strategic plan for 2020 to 2023.
The profilers are recruited from every division and are being trained and sent back to work closely with their garda colleagues.
Their task is to identify drug dealers and other criminals who are active in their areas, build up a profile of them and then send a dossier to the CAB's headquarters.
There it will be examined by specialists in the intelligence assessment office.
After a study of the profile, a decision will be taken on whether there is sufficient evidence to pursue the targeted figures for their assets.
"The local profilers are an important and integral part of our operations and it shows that we are not solely concentrating on the big players but are also determined to chase those who cause misery in small towns and villages through drug trafficking," one officer said.
The role played by the local profilers was highlighted again last month in a clampdown by the CAB on an organised crime gang involved in drug dealing, intimidation and extortion in Co Longford.
Members of that gang are heavily involved in a local feud and, according to gardai, have "amassed a large property portfolio as a result of the proceeds of their involvement in criminal activity".