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Boob job, gastric band op and burning cash in the garden during raid

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The drugs seizure

The drugs seizure

The drugs seizure

Gardai discovered receipts for a boob job and separate gastric band surgery carried out in Turkey during raids on a notorious crime gang which has been living in the lap of luxury.

The same gang, targeted in CAB raids last November, was the subject of more searches in recent days, during which gardai seized €52,000 of drugs.

Pressure continued to grow on the mob last night after it emerged that a senior gang member was caught "burning a large amount of cash" in his back garden when gardai conducted follow-up searches at the weekend following Thursday night's "highly significant" drugs seizure.

Surgery

"This is a Longford-based crime gang with links to many other midlands counties as well as Dublin and Cavan. They have been making a fortune from drug dealing," a senior source told the Herald.

"Clear evidence of this was seen last year when the home of a married couple, who are considered senior members of the organisation, was raided in a Criminal Assets Bureau (CAB) operation just hours after the couple returned from a holiday in Turkey.

"Receipts were found which indicated they had paid big money for plastic surgery in Turkey, which showed he had gastric band surgery and she had breast implants put in."

The gang were the target of a massive CAB operation last November when gardai seized six cars, fake cash and expensive watches as a result of intensive raids across eight counties and 21 searches.

Three Rolex watches, €18,600 cash, a number of fake €20 notes and designer handbags were also seized.

"Money definitely does not seem to be an object to this crew, as another of their senior players was caught attempting to burn wads of cash when gardai raided his home over the weekend after the drugs seizure," the source said.

"Some of the cash and some burned notes were recovered by gardai."

Senior sources say that the gang consist of four family groupings based in Co Longford. They are part of a larger family-based network through marriage which has a national reach, especially in counties such as Westmeath.

"For the most part this gang have kept out of the Longford feud which has seen numerous violent incidents.

"The accumulation of wealth is their primary motivation," the source added.

Gardai suspect that the gang have continued to be involved in organised criminality - particularly drug dealing - since last year's raids and earlier this summer some of the gang members were arrested and questioned by CAB officers under proceeds of crime legislation.

Last Thursday night's seizure of €52,000 of drugs was one of the most significant against the mob for months, even though there were no arrests made.

"Members of the Longford/Roscommon Divisional Drugs Unit carried out a search of farmlands in the Ballinalee area at approximately 10pm on Thursday," a garda spokeswoman said.

"During the course of the search, €20,000 worth of suspected cannabis herb was found, along with €16,000 worth of suspected cocaine, and €16,000 worth of suspected ecstasy tablets."

In a separate operation on Saturday, gardai in Longford seized over €40,000 in cash as part of a laundering probe into a gang which was the subject of major CAB raids a fortnight ago.