Longford crime gang reeling by €140k bust

Garda chief in crime vow: ‘We always said we would act and act decisively’

Liam Cosgrove

Reporter:

Liam Cosgrove

Email:

liam.cosgrove@longfordleader.ie

Jim Delaney

Supt Jim Delaney

A well known Longford crime family at the centre of a major Criminal Assets Bureau (CAB) investigation into alleged drug dealing, extortion and money laundering has seen its financial muscle seriously dented following a latest wave of searches at the weekend.

It comes after gardaí seized in excess of €140,000 in cocaine, ecstasy and cannabis during three separate operations within the space of 48 hours.

The largest of those hauls came on Friday night when officers attached to Longford/Roscommon's Divisional Drugs Unit seized €52,000 worth of drugs as a result of a search of farmlands in the Ballinalee area.

No arrests have yet been made but investigations continue apace with senior garda officials confident of further progress being made over the next number of days.

The third and final operation came during the early hours of Saturday morning when Gardaí in Longford seized cash in excess of €40,000 as a result of information received regarding suspected money laundering.

The Leader understands that operation was very much intrinsically linked to a well documented Criminal Assets Bureau (CAB) operation two weeks ago which led to the confiscation of cars, caravans and luxury jewellery in a seizure which could fetch €500,000.

The prime target of the raid is a crime family who are heavily involved in drug dealing, prostitution, intimidation and extortion.

The estimated €40,000 haul had, according to sources, been used as a “reserve” or “back up” to cash flow problems the gang had encountered as a consequence of monies seized earlier this month by CAB.

It's understood members of the gang have been turning up the heat on beneficiaries of its money lending activities in a bid to recoup the losses sustained from the recent CAB raid.

However, it is understood last Saturday’s seizure has inflicted another blow to those well laid plans with senior gardaí vowing to continue to ensure those involved in organised crime endure the full rigours of the law.

"It's a serious effort and shows the level of commitment we have in clamping down on this type of activity,” said Superintendent Jim Delaney, as he both thanked and urged members of the public to continue with their assistance in tackling organised crime.

“We always said we would act and act decisively and that's what we have been doing and will continue to do.”

They were pledges which were given further weight by chairperson of Longford’s Joint Policing Committee (JPC), Cllr Seamus Butler.

The Fianna Fáil local representative has long espoused calls for CAB officers to target Longford and its growing repute as a destination for organised crime and racketeering.

He said the latest gains exacted by gardaí over the weekend illustrated the successes which can be gleaned when the various arms of the State’s law and order arsenal are meted out against subversive crime groupings.

“It’s (seizures) an obvious follow up to the multi agency raids of last Monday week,” said Cllr Butler, in quoting Chief Supt Tony Healy’s earlier insistence the most recent CAB searches were “just a phase” of a broader anti-crime clampdown.

“These (contents of seizures) are quite clearly ill gotten gains and are the results of these criminals driving people into debt.”

The local businessman said the “fruits of the gardaí’s labour” at the weekend was both a timely reminder and veiled warning of the consequences that come with involvement in underworld crime.

“Let the message go out that if these people continue to commit to a life of criminality, that you will be caught, be brought before the judiciary and you will hopefully be put away for a very long time.”