herald

Saturday 3 December 2016

CAB to crack down on city gang stealing five high-end cars a week

Gardai remove vehicles from a garage in the city centre
Gardai remove vehicles from a garage in the city centre

The Criminal Assets Bureau (CAB) has launched a major probe into Ireland's most prolific car-theft gang, which is suspected of stealing five high- powered vehicles every week.

Sources have revealed that up to nine members of the gang are being "profiled" as gardai attempt to find out exactly what the outfit does with the proceeds of the spate of crime it has been involved in for years.

Cartel

The mob is based in the Crumlin area and has links to the Kinahan cartel as well as many other major crime groupings in the city.

"In terms of organised crime, this crew is in the middle of everything," a senior source said.

"It provides stolen cars that are used in everything from burglaries to gangland hits.

"Like all investigations involving CAB it will be painstaking and methodical, but gardai are determined to know exactly what they are doing with the money they have gained."

Virtually none of the high-end Mercedes and BMW cars that the gang is suspected of stealing have been recovered.

They are suspected of being sent abroad or else taken to illegal "chop-shop" garages here, where they are dismantled.

The gang is led by a 29-year-old criminal who has survived at least three attempts on his life in the past two years.

Detectives have established that he works closely with two other criminals.

The three are among the top targets for the Drugs and Organised Crime Bureau and Stolen Motor Vehicle Unit.

They have also been investigated as part of Operation Creeper, which targeted burglary gangs.

The mobster who is the perceived leader of the gang is considered a main player in "fishing" burglary gangs, which have been using fishing rods and other implements to snatch car keys through letterboxes and then stealing vehicles.

However, it is believed he has become a gangland target because of his involvement in drugs rather than his main business of car theft.

During the summer, gardai arrested a gunman in the Crumlin area who it is believed was on his way to murder the 29-year-old at his apartment.

Heroin

It has also emerged that gardai are investigating the same criminal's "business relationship" with a 35-year-old convicted heroin dealer, who has close links to gangster 'Fat' Freddie Thompson.

News of CAB's investigation into the mob comes after the crime agency was involved in a major operation against a west Dublin drugs mob this week, which led to the seizure of 46 vehicles worth an estimated €1.1m as well as almost €100,000 of cash and watches.

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