A Criminal Assets Bureau (CAB) investigation into an up-and-coming west Dublin crime gang, suspected of laundering cash netted from drug dealing, has been extended outside the State, the Herald can reveal.
The investigation, named Operation Dachshund, is focusing on the activities of an organised crime gang based in west Dublin, as part of a wider crackdown on gangs looking to become major players in criminal circles.
The CAB was called in to examine its assets after the gang had been targeted by the Garda Special Crime Task Force (SCTF), which was set up a year ago to support the Drugs and Organised Crime Bureau (DOCB) in pinpointing key gangland figures.
Assets including cash, vehicles and high-end jewellery, with a total value in excess of €110,000, have already been seized from the Dublin-based firm.
Inquiries are being made in Switzerland and Northern Ireland to help establish the background of some of the jewellery recovered in searches of premises in west Dublin.
One item, a Rolex watch worth almost €30,000, had been reported stolen from a store outside Belfast six years ago. Three other watches, with a combined value of an estimated €43,000, were also confiscated, along with Louis Vuitton and Chanel handbags and two cars - a BMW 5-series and a Citroen - worth up to €35,000.
A further €20,000 in cash of various currencies was also seized by CAB officers.
Inquiries are now being widened as the investigation into the gang is stepped up.
It is one of 62 cases initiated since the SCTF started operations at the end of last May.
The inquiries are targeted at members of gangs categorised by gardai as second and third tier criminals.
The move was one of a series of initiatives announced by Garda authorities in the wake of the Kinahan-Hutch feud, in a bid to eliminate up-and-coming thugs who were threatening to emerge as major gangland figures.
Many of those in the spotlight enjoy lavish lifestyles, driving high-powered vehicles, buying expensive jewellery and other personal items and spending thousands of euro on holidays.
The aim is to tackle them financially before they can be hailed as role models for other wannabe criminals in their neighbourhoods.
Six officers from the SCTF have been seconded to the CAB to investigate the assets of those gangs operating in the Dublin area and nominated by the SCTF.
Sixteen of the 62 cases have been completed and the rest are still being investigated.
Meanwhile, gardai are building up the number of divisional asset profilers throughout the country, outside Dublin.
The CAB has so far trained 311 profilers, up by 103 from the end of last year, following the completion of training programmes in January and April.
Most of the profilers are gardai from each of the divisions but the group also includes personnel from Customs and the Department of Social Protection, mirroring the make-up of the CAB.