Stolen NCT certs seized and 89 held in chop shop raids
HUNDREDS of stolen NCT certificates worth tens of thousands of euro and a massive haul of cocaine have been seized in a Garda bust.
Eighty nine suspects were arrested as part of the crackdown, codenamed Operation Wireless.
The shakedown on organised crime gangs involved 419 searches across Dublin and the southeast.
Firearms, cash and high powered cars were also discovered by detectives from the Organised Crime Unit and Criminal Assets Bureau.
The Herald can reveal that in one of the most significant raids officers found some of the NCT certificates stolen from a test centre in Drogheda last month.
The theft sparked a major garda alert amid fears they would lead to hundreds of dangerous cars making it onto our roads.
More than 850 of the certificates were taken during a terrifying armed raid.
Motorcheck.ie said the certificates could be used to mislead potential buyers into buying "unsafe and dangerous" cars, which fail to meet minimum safety standards.
Some of the stolen certs were recovered during raids in north Dublin – in Baldoyle, Ballymun and Balbriggan.
Separately, two men were arrested on suspicion of possession of explosives while three were lifted for alleged drug dealing. Gardai also found five Polish nationals who were wanted on European Arrest Warrants.
A major target of the operation, led by Assistant Commissioner Derek Byrne, were suspected "chop shop" garages where high-quality stolen cars are stripped down and dismantled to be used in criminal enterprises.
Gardai said the nationwide Operation Wireless III started on Monday morning and continued through the night.
The searches – co-ordinated by Garda national support services at Harcourt Square – relate to stolen property, drugs and firearms connected with criminal investigations nationwide.
As part of the operation, gardai raided a house in Cushlawn Park, Tallaght, at 10.45pm where 5.5kg of cocaine, cash and assorted drug paraphernalia were discovered.
The drugs have an estimated street value of €385,000.
A 34-year-old man was arrested at the scene and was being held at Tallaght Garda station.
Officials from Department of Social Welfare and Customs officers also joined a search of a yard in the Balbriggan area of north Co Dublin where parts for up to eight stolen vehicles were recovered.
A Garda spokesman said: "There have been a total of 419 planned searches carried out nationwide resulting in 89 arrests for a range of offences including robbery, burglary, theft, handling stolen property, possession of drugs, and firearms offences.
"In excess of 20 persons were arrested on foot of bench warrants."
The five European arrest warrants were executed for offences ranging from assault, robbery, extortion, fraud and drugs offences. "All suspects are due to appear before the High Court," the spokesman said.