herald

Tuesday 22 August 2017

Mercedes and €20k of watches seized in swoop on port gang

Detectives investigating the activities of one of the country's most prolific criminal gangs arrested five suspected mob members during a dramatic operation at Dublin Port.

Armed gardai seized three top-of-the-range watches worth more than €20,000 as well as a high-powered Mercedes after receiving a tip-off from police in Wales.

Officers pounced on the suspects at around 12.30am on Thursday when the men drove off a ferry which had arrived from Holyhead.

A search of the 03-reg Mercedes that the men were travelling in yielded three watches hidden inside.

It is suspected that the watches, which included Cartier and Breitling brands, were stolen.

The five men who have strong links to Ireland's most prolific burglary gang were taken to Store Street garda station where they were questioned for several hours before being released without charge.

One of the suspects is understood to be a relative of slain Traveller crime kingpin 'Fat' Andy Connors (45) and has an address in Leixlip, Co Kildare.

The other four men are from the Tallaght area and include a relative of a high-profile businessman who is suspected of laundering millions of euro worth of cash and goods for the gang.

gruesome

The businessman was formerly a close associate of Andy Connors, but gardai have been investigating whether he might have ordered his gruesome gun murder at his rural Tallaght home in August.

His arrested relative is facing charges before the courts in relation to the burglary spree his gang are involved in.

It has emerged that the man, who is in his mid-20s and from Tallaght, has been regularly charged before the courts over the past decade but has often had these charges dropped or struck-out.

Sources said the man has been one of the main targets for the gardai Organised Crime Unit over the past two years.

The gang is regarded as the biggest and most prolific of those engaged in burglary sprees nationwide which have netted €11m worth of cash and possessions from homes in the last six months of 2013, according to official garda figures.

After Thursday morning's Dublin Port bust, gardai are now examining their role in the distribution of stolen high-quality watches which are extremely valuable.

Sources said that the arrests show the "high levels of intelligence-sharing" between gardai and police in the UK.

kfoy@herald.ie

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