A dangerous north inner city gang are hundreds of thousands of euro out of pocket after customs officers impounded a massive 40-foot consignment of hair straighteners at Dublin Port.
Sources say that the mob had organised the importation of the suspected counterfeit hair straighteners, which were destined for the Christmas market.
Gardai believe the importation of the massive haul was organised by mobsters who are closely linked to Eric Hopkins (24), who was shot dead by the gardai's Emergency Response Unit (ERU) at a post office in Lusk, Co Dublin, over a decade ago, along with a close associate of his.
The gang are closely aligned to the Christy Griffin crime network, who are believed to have made millions of euro from Dublin Port thefts since the 1980s.
The Herald has learned that the Competition and Consumer Protection Commission requested custom officers last Friday to suspend the importation of a consignment of the items due to concerns about their compliance with product safety legislation. This followed an investigation led by a specialist garda unit.
"The Competition and Consumer Protection Commission has requested that Customs suspend the importation of a consignment of hair straighteners at Dublin Port due to concerns about their compliance with the relevant product safety legislation," the agency said in a statement issued to the Herald last night.
"The Commission is currently investigating this matter and therefore is not in a position to comment further."
The powers of the commission permit them to seek the suspension of the importation by Customs Services of consignments if the agency has concerns that the products being imported may not reach EU and Irish safety standards.
It is understood that in the UK it has been established that fake hair straighteners reach very high temperatures and, without stringent safety checks, could catch fire or burn somebody.
It also emerged that some of the fake products were found to have faulty wiring that could result in scalp burns.
The gang suspected of being behind the haul are closely connected to paedophile gangster Griffin, who is in the closing stages of a 15-year jail sentence for raping and sexually assaulting his partner's daughter.
These were crimes which led to the bitter north inner city feud which claimed five lives.
Meanwhile, it has emerged that the garda's National Bureau Of Criminal Investigation (NBCI) has launched a major operation targeting counterfeit goods in the run-up to Christmas - and, as part of their operations, have seized hundreds of thousands of euro worth of goods.
Dozens of detectives are involved in the operation which has already yielded hauls of perfume, handbags and clothes.