Belfast Telegraph

Irish Criminal Assets Bureau clamps down on border crime gang

By Andrew Madden

The Republic of Ireland's Criminal Assets Bureau (CAB) has moved to clamp down on an organised crime gang operating in the border region with Northern Ireland.

On Wednesday morning, CAB officials and officers from the Garda Emergency Response Unit carried out a series of raids in Co Monaghan targeting the gang.

The move comes following a joint assessment carried out by Gardai and PSNI in November last year which stated Brexit could increase cross-border organised crime.

Six residential addresses and two businesses were searched on Wednesday, resulting in the seizure of around €10,000 (in Sterling and Euro), a number of documents, and electronic devices, including mobile phones.

Viagra tablets and evidence of illegal tobacco and alcohol smuggling was also seized.

"This operation centres on an organised crime gang operating in the border region with Northern Ireland who are heavily involved in the importation and distribution of illegal cigarettes and counterfeit goods," a Garda spokesperson said.

"No arrests have been made and investigations are continuing."

In April last year, president of the Association of Garda Superintendents, Noel Cunningham, said cross-border roads on the island of Ireland could become "crime corridors" post-Brexit without more funding.

Two months ago, authorities on both sides of the border held their annual "Cross Border Organised Crime" conference in Co Down, focusing on challenges Brexit presents to the policing and justice sectors.

At the event, PSNI deputy chief constable Stephen Martin called for legislation to be brought forward to ensure the PSNI and Gardai can continue to co-operate after the UK leaves the EU in March.

"We benefit from a range of tools in our toolbox – European Arrest Warrants is the one that people most often talk about," he said.

“But access to criminal records; the ability to share intelligence [are others]. Whatever happens after Brexit at the end of March, we want the capacity and the capability to do the same thing."

Belfast Telegraph Digital

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