A MAJOR Garda operation targeting the activities of a Limerick drugs gang got under way on Wednesday morning.
More than 170 Gardaí took part in the operation that involved around 60 searches of homes and premises across Limerick, Clare and Tipperary.
Members of the Defence Forces supported the operation which also included the Garda National Drugs Unit, Criminal Assets Bureau, National Bureau of Criminal Investigation, Emergency Response Unit, Armed Support Unit, Garda Dog Unit, as well as Gardai attached to local divisions.
According to Garda sources, the operation is targeting the activities of a criminal gang based in Limerick city that has been involved in the sale and supply or illicit drugs across Munster and beyond for decades.
A leading member of the gang has survived a number of murder attempts.
“This is a very significant search operation. There are well over 170 Gardaí involved. The operation is targeting a local organised crime group. What we’re doing today is effectively targeting the proceeds of crime, targeting their assets”.
A Garda spokesman later confirmed that nine people had been arrested.
A statement issued to the Limerick Post confirmed that the searches were conducted as part of Operation Coronation and was supported by three teams of Irish Army Search Engineers, the Army EOD team and the Army Helicopter.
“Operation Coronation was established to target organised criminality in Limerick city and its environs. This operation is targeting organised extended criminality, drug trafficking and the financial returns achieved from this type of activity through money laundering.”
“This operation is being co-ordinated by Limerick Gardaí with the assistance of the national units, primarily the Criminal Assets Bureau and the Drugs and Organised Crime Bureau with the National Bureau of Criminal Investigation, the Garda National Bureau of Fraud Investigation and the Security and Intelligence Section at Garda HQ to address the accumulation of wealth by those engaged in serious and ongoing criminality.”
“It is part of the Limerick Divisional crime strategy and a central plank of the Divisional Policing Plan targeting organised crime,” the statement concluded.