Three arrested as Gardaí swoop on Limerick drug gang assets

Gardaí involved in yesterday's search operation. Photo: An Garda Síochána

THREE men were arrested after Gardaí, supported by army personnel, searched properties and lands across Limerick yesterday (Thursday) in an operation targeting the assets of a drugs gang based on the south side of the city.

It is understood that the three men were arrested on suspicion of drugs offences and that they are associates, but not members, of the gang.

A Garda spokesman said that property seized in the searches included a BMW, designer jewellery, electronic items and six shotgun cartridges.

“Drugs were also seized including €64,600 worth of suspected amphetamine and €89,600 of suspected cannabis. €76,580 in cash was recovered with a further €18,000 frozen in credit union accounts.

“The three men who were arrested are aged in their 30s and 40s  and are currently detained at Garda Stations in the Limerick Region,” the spokesman added.

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The organised crime group, based in the Southill area, are aligned to criminals who were involved in a gang feud that claimed 19 lives, including innocent members of the public and injured dozens more in the early to mid-2000s.

The gang has been involved in a number of local feuds with other criminal groups.

Army personnel involved in yesterday’s searches in the Southill area.
Photo: An Garda Síochána

Associates of the group also have convictions in relation to a shooting in which they targeted members of the McCarthy Dundon criminal gang.

An innocent child was wounded in the broad daylight drive-by shooting.

The Dundon gang has been largely broken up by Gardaí after some of their associates testified against senior members of the gang in a number of high profile murder trials which secured convictions and life sentences for the gang leaders.

The Southill gang have attempted to fill a gap in the Limerick drugs market since the break-up of the Dundon mob.

“Where there is drugs there is money, and that’s the bottom line,” said a source familiar with the Southill gang’s criminal activities.

Yesterday Gardaí conducted up to 20 searches of properties and lands in Southill as well as in the villages of Pallasgreen and Caherconlish in south east County Limerick.

Officers attached to the Criminal Assets Bureau (CAB) were supported by armed Gardaí and detectives, drugs units, as well as the Organised Crime Bureau and Garda Dog Unit.

“The  search was conducted as part of an ongoing proceeds-of-crime investigation targeting assets including properties deriving, in whole or part, from the proceeds of criminal activity,” the source explained.

Gardaí also suspect an senior associate of the gang, who is predominantly based abroad, of involvement in money laundering for Limerick drug gangs.

The Southill gang have been on the radar of Gardaí for at least a decade and some of their associates have convictions for serious crimes including gun attacks and burglary.

Another close associate of a senior gang member, who lost his life in a road traffic collision, had amassed around 40 criminal convictions.

Asked to comment on the involvement of Defence Forces in the operation, a spokeswoman confirmed that they were assisting in response to a request from An Garda Siochana.

She added that, for security reasons, the defence forces do not comment on operations.

Members of the Criminal Assets Bureau (CAB) who were involved in yesterday’s operation.
Photo: An Garda Síochána