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Thursday, May 08, 2008

Operation Platinum hits criminals hard

Searches are continuing in the city tonight as part of a clampdown on criminal and gang activity.

At least three men in their twenties were arrested by Gardai during the raids which saw drugs, money, documents and firearms seized. At least 150 properties were searched in the raids which got underway early this morning. They have now been released this evening as without charge.

The raids, thought to be the culmination of months of work are being carried out in conjunction with the Garda Criminal Assets Bureaux and are the biggest ever raids carried out in Limerick.

The Breakdown:

:: 250 armed and local gardai some brought in from across Munster began searching the homes and business premises from 6am.

:: The Garda Air support Helicopter arrived around 7.30am to assist in the operation which is targeting feuding in the city.

:: Areas searched included but are not limited to Ballinacurra Weston, Southill, Moyross, Ballynanty, Kileely and St Mary's Park. Reports say premises in Co. Tipperary, Co. Clare and Co. Dublin were also searched.

::A location in Shannon town was searched.

:: Chief Supt Willie Keane spoke on the operation saying it was one of the biggest in the country.

"It is certainly the biggest one in the Limerick Division and I would say it is probably one of the biggest ones in the State in recent times as well. 250 plus members of the Garda Siochana is a huge operation by any standards

It was primarily driven by the criminal assets of these gangs, in excess of 150 premises have been searched and it is a culmination of many months work, searches of this scale do not happen overnight so it is a culmination of many months work initiated by our assets profilers based locally here in Limerick who profiled the various criminal gangs and criminal elements in the city,"
Via Limerick Leader

:: Businesses searched in the raids include accountancy and solicitor firms according to reports.

:: A immense amount of documentation including bank details, credit union books and computer hardware was sequestered along with nearly €100,000 in euro and sterling. A car with false number plates and a motorbike were also seized.

Among the political reactions, Sinn Féin Limerick Spokesperson Maurice Quinlivan has said,

“Serious efforts must now be made to bring about more arrests and to secureconvictions. I spent most of the day in Moyross where there was strongsupport for the Garda actions with a feeling that at long last the issue isbeing taken seriously.Today’s actions must not be a one off and must be part or a coordinatedresponse to put these people out of action. The Gardaí must be given theresources to ensure that strong cases are built and it is hoped that seriouscharges will follow today’s operation and those who have profited from drugcrime over the years in Limerick are taken off our streets.”

Minister Willie O Dea praised the raids and confirmed that the Criminal Assets Bureaux were preparing to seized houses owned by criminals,

"Over the past twelve months CAB have been carrying out a huge investigation into property in Limerick and they have compiled a list of properties where there is no explanation as to how the owners accumulated the money to pay for them"
Operation Platinum will continue for a further 24hrs at least.

(Photos: Limerick Leader / RTE News)

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