Over 60 arrests in Longford Garda operation

Garda� in north Longford have made more than 60 arrests in connection with Operation JASON
More than 60 suspects have been arrested by gardaí over the past few weeks in a major crackdown against organised crime, the Leader has learned.

More than 60 suspects have been arrested by gardaí over the past few weeks in a major crackdown against organised crime, the Leader has learned.

Among those already targeted include convicted drug dealers, serial burglars, shoplifters and individuals believed to be involved in ongoing Traveller-related feuds.

Fronted by officers from Granard Garda Station, almost all of those currently being investigated form part of a sweeping Garda operation, codenamed JASON.

Originally set up in July, senior detectives launched JASON with a view to clamping down on repeat offenders either living or that maintain links across the north Longford area.

In several cases husbands and wives, fathers and sons have been arrested, targeted and in some cases imprisoned.

Others, meanwhile, have come before the courts on foot of outstanding warrants.

A number of those cases involved the non payment of fines handed down by the District Court covering everything from drugs possession, assaults and burglaries to serious road traffic offences.

In a bid to tackle the broader outstanding warrants issue, Garda management in Granard have in recent weeks taken the unusual step of writing to or directly making contact with those named in warrant documentation.

Those who ignored Garda warning letters or who refused to pay court fines have since been arrested and brought to prisons such as Castlerea, Mountjoy’s Dochas Centre women’s prison and the Midlands Prison in Portlaoise.

Gardai are, for the moment, staying silent over the exact numbers of suspects already targeted, although the Leader understands this figure could surpass 70 by the end of the year.

“JASON is a five month plan that started in July last and focused on repeat offenders living and active in crime in the North Longford area,” said a source.

In May last year, the Leader told of how a similar initiative, codemamed ‘Rebus’ specifically dealt with around 20 well established criminals in the north Longford area.

Gardai now hope this latest campaign under the wider workings of anti-crime Operation Aimsir, will strike an even heavier blow in their continuing battle against organised crime.