CAB trawls accounts in search for drugs cash
By Barry Duggan
Wednesday March 12 2008
Officers from the Criminal Assets Bureau have begun trawling through accounts in banks, building societies, post offices, credit unions and even bookmakers as part of their investigations into some of the country's most dangerous criminal gangs.
The CAB profilers are investigating the activities of at least three criminal gangs based in Limerick city which have been linked with the lucrative but illicit trade in drugs.
The notorious criminal outfits under intense scrutiny are the Dundon-McCarthys, the Collopys and the Keane gangs. The gangs have made millions of euros from the sale of drugs and the proceeds of crime. Now, senior gang members fear that their assets will be seized by authorities following the intensive investigation.
Two CAB profilers have been based in the city since last year as recommended by former Dublin city manager John Fitzgerald in his report on how to tackle social, criminal and physical problems in Limerick's deprived suburbs.
The Irish Independent has learned that as part of their desperate attempts to launder cash, criminal outfits have deposited cash in credit unions across the city, various banks, post offices and even bookies to avoid detection by the Revenue Commissioners. All accounts are now under inspection as part of the thorough investigation by the CAB.
The CAB profilers have learned that millions of euros have been stashed away in such accounts.
"It is still early stages and the depth of their pockets is unknown, but we are talking in the millions of euros," said an informed source.
Limerick criminals who have extravagant signs of affluence and no apparent means of income are directly under the microscope. A garda source revealed that lending institutions have to report deposits of €7,500 or more.
As a result, the crime lords are beginning to feel the pinch. Members of one gang found with €175,000 in cash could not explain how they had the money and it was forfeited to the State.
In another incident, a shop in the city was bought for €150,000 by members of a criminal gang as a proposed business front to explain their lucrative wealth.
- Barry Duggan