GARDAÍ have smashed a major organised crime syndicate in Galway, which is suspected of being one of the biggest suppliers of drugs in the West of Ireland.
Arrests are still being made in what is one of the biggest ever criminal investigations in the region.
As well as drugs, the gang is alleged to be involved in protection rackets around Galway and outlying areas.
The seriousness of the alleged offences means those involved could be tried by the non-jury Special Criminal Court – previously reserved for terrorism related trials.
A total of ten arrests have so far been made, and more are likely in the ongoing investigation. All suspects can be detained for up to seven days.
Members of one Galway city family – already well-known in the courts in Galway – are being targeted, although the Connacht Tribune has learned that several other individuals form part of the investigation.
While several members of the family are being questioned, the crime empire is mainly controlled by two of the brothers – they have also formed an alliance with two notorious Limerick crime families, now renowned for wearing bulletproof vests in public.
The Galway gang –which also has connections to highly-dangerous criminal gangs in Sligo and Dublin – is also alleged to be involved in gun crime, extortion, intimidation and burglaries.
Dozens of Gardaí – including armed specialist units and the Criminal Assets Bureau (CAB) – carried out 20 raids on private homes and offices as part of ‘Operation Foolscap’ on Tuesday morning, and nine men were arrested under legislation which specifically targets organised crime.
A tenth arrest was made yesterday (Wednesday) and a Garda source said that because the investigation is ongoing, further arrests may be likely.
Houses were searched at Rahylin Glebe in Ballybane on the east of the city, Bohermore near the city centre and Rockfield Park in Rahoon on the West.
June 3, 2010