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Fourteen held after swoop on gun gang

FOURTEEN suspects were arrested in a massive operation – including 40 searches – as part of an investigation into a notorious gang who have been stealing firearms in rural robberies.

The raids, which involved more than 100 officers, targeted a number of houses and halting sites Kilkenny and Clonmel, Co Tipperary – the two towns where the gang has its stronghold.


Raids in the major "clean-up operation" began at dawn yesterday, and last night 14 suspected gang members, including two women, remained in garda custody in stations across the southeast.

The gang, which is described as "extremely fluid in structure", has been under garda surveillance for a number of weeks.

They are suspected of involvement in around 60 burglaries in the south-east since last summer in which up to 30 firearms were stolen.

The huge operation is being co-ordinated by detectives based in the south east who were backed up in yesterday's investigation by the Criminal Assets Bureau (CAB) as well as customs officers who have been investigating the gang's links to green diesel laundering.

The violent traveller gang's activities have been so lucrative that a number of bank accounts which were frozen yesterday and connected to the mob had figures of more than €100,000 in it.

Fifteen of yesterday's 40 searches took place at halting sites.

Gardai seized documentation and computers and they previously recovered eight firearms that had been stolen by the gang in farmhouse burglaries.

Gardai suspect that the stolen firearms have been sold to feuding gangland mobs as well as armed robbery gangs.