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€200k seized and 14 arrested in dawn raids on drugs gang

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Over 200 gardai conducted 67 searches of homes, premises and locations in Limerick, Clare and Tipperary

Over 200 gardai conducted 67 searches of homes, premises and locations in Limerick, Clare and Tipperary

Over 200 gardai conducted 67 searches of homes, premises and locations in Limerick, Clare and Tipperary

Gardai targeting the assets of the Keane-Collopy drugs gang arrested 14 people and seized around €200,000 in cash as well as a car and deeds to a property in Dubai.

In a series of dawn raids from 6am yesterday, Limerick gardai mounted Operation Coronation, a huge search operation involving 200 officers, assisted by members of the Defence Forces.

During the planned operation, led by Limerick gardai, officers seized:

• Around €220,000 worth of euros, sterling, dirham (UAE currency) and old Irish currency.

• Deeds to a property in Dubai.

• One car valued at approximately €50,000.

• Some €100,000 worth of jewellery and luxury watches.

• High-value clothing items.

• Around €23,500 of suspected cannabis herb, cocaine and heroin, as well as cocaine presses.

Gardai seized "significant evidence to support the investigation, including financial accounts and property documentation", a garda spokesman said.

"Two bank accounts have also been frozen containing sums in excess of €119,000," he added.

Local gardai conducted 67 searches of homes, premises and locations across counties Limerick, Clare and Tipperary.

They were supported by the Criminal Assets Bureau, Drugs and Organised Crime Bureau, the National Bureau of Criminal Investigation, the Emergency Response Unit, the Armed Response Unit and Regional Dog Unit.

The operation was also supported by three teams of Irish Army search engineers, the Army EOD team and the Army helicopter, due to the vast expanse gardai had to search.

The Keane-Collopy gang, which has tentacles across the country and beyond, has been involved in the sale and supply of illicit drugs across Munster for the past few decades. It was one of several criminal outfits involved in a murderous feud in Limerick between the late 1990s and mid-2000s in which around 20 men were killed.

Bloodletting

Senior sources said that despite a lull in bloodletting, the gangs have continued to operate their drugs businesses.

"This is a very significant search operation. The operation is targeting a local organised crime group, effectively targeting their proceeds of crime," said a source.

Thirteen men and one woman, aged between their 20s and 60s, were being detained as part of the investigation.