Gardai find multi-million euro car-theft operation
Gardai have identified the inner workings of at least three separate gangs as part of a massive clampdown on a multi-million euro car-theft ring in which cars that are being stolen to order across Ireland are being exported out of the country.
Officers have established that dozens of high-end cars that have been stolen here over the past year have been moved out of the country hidden in ship containers underneath scrap, tyres and discarded computers - and even disguised in bigger vehicles on cargo ships from Dublin Port.
Sources said that a number of 'kingpins' have been identified including a Nigerian criminal who is based between Dublin and London and a Lithuanian crimelord who is based in the Tyrrelstown, west Dublin.
It has emerged that a notorious Co Meath-based Traveller criminal who is originally from Finglas has been acting as a "middle man" in the massive enterprise and is suspected of making tens of thousands of euro each week from it.
The Traveller, who is his aged in his mid 40s, was previously hit for a massive bill by the Criminal Assets Bureau and he is also a close associate of jailed Finglas gangland figure Alan 'Fatpuss' Bradley.
A six-month investigation which has been led by Chief Superintendent Aidan Reid and his team in the Dublin Metropolitan Region Garda Traffic Division who were backed up by detectives at the Stolen Motor Vehicle Investigation Unit has uncovered massive detail about the operations.
A source said that this is a "truly massive enterprise".
"What is happening in this particular theft ring is that Lithuanian and to a lesser degree Irish criminals are robbing the cars, usually by the method of fishing car keys from letter boxes of homes," a source said.
"These cars are then sold onto to the Meath-based Traveller criminal who in turn is selling the vehicles to the Nigerian and Lithuanian crime gangs for export out of the country."