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Gardai swoop on 'ringleader' of tiger gang

THE alleged leader of Ireland's most dangerous tiger kidnapping gang has been arrested this morning in Co Meath.

The 32-year-old man, originally from Lucan, was picked up this morning in Clonee and is being quizzed over last week's €300,000 tiger raid on the AIB branch in Clondalkin.

The gang boss will also be questioned over a €270,000 tiger kidnapping which took place in Irishtown at the beginning of January in which a pensioner and her nine-year-old grand-niece were taken hostage.

Gardai have also arrested the man's sister-in-law and detectives believe that her vehicle may have been the vehicle used to transport the cash.

A third male was arrested in Navan, Co Meath. The three individuals are being held separately at Crumlin, Rathmines and Terenure Garda Stations.

A number of cars were also seized by gardai this morning and are due to be forensically examined by officers from the Garda Technical Bureau.

Garda are continuing to conduct a number of searches this morning at properties in Clonee, Lucan and Navan.

This gang concentrates solely on tiger kidnappings and has no involvement in any other aspect of organised crime.

"This gang boss is a professional thief, it's all he knows and what he specialises in," a source told the Herald.

Gardai have already arrested five individuals during their investigations into last week's tiger raid.

Three have been released but two remain in custody after there periods of detention were extended.

The two men who were arrested last week and remain in custody are believed to be major players in the gang leader's operations.

Detectives have recovered almost a third of the robbery haul after raids on houses in Counties Dublin, Kildare and Meath last weekend.

Officers discovered €60,000 in the attic of a rented house in Kilcock in north Kildare.

One suspect was in the house when gardai carried out the raid, but ran out the back door and across the gardens of adjoining homes before he was caught and arrested.

Three other men were detained.