Members of CAB pictured during this morning's operation in Rathkeale
Gardaí from the Criminal Assets Bureau (CAB) seized around €150,000 in cash and a large volume of documents during in a series of planned searches in West Limerick this Wednesday morning.
Seven private homes and a number of business premises – mainly in the Rathkeale area - were searched as part of Operation Oakleaf.
It is understood the offices of at least one solicitor were searched during the operation which also involved uniformed gardai from the Limerick division.
“They arrived just before 9 o’clock and they were around for a couple of hours, there must have been at least 40 of them,” one man told the Limerick Leader on condition on anonymity.
Gardai have confirmed the searches were carried out as part of an operation which is targeting the activities of an organised crime gang which is operating in Rathkeale.
“CAB officers seized a significant amount of cash as well as a large volume of documents and other evidence related to assets. This evidence will be further examined by specialist Bureau Officers,” said a spokesperson for the Garda Press Office.
A photograph issued by the Garda Press Office suggests the money seized included various denominations of notes in both Euro and Sterling .Several designer watches, including at least one Rolex, were also seized.
The CAB investigation relates to suspected criminal activity by an organised crime gang which has operations in Ireland, the UK and Europe.
Throughout the morning, officers wearing jackets with ‘CAB’ emblazoned on the back could be seen speaking with local residents near a number of premises in the town.
In addition to searching homes and businesses, CAB officers were also seen searching cars in a car park which is located just off Main Street.
At one point, a vehicle from the armed Regional Support Unit was seen passing through the town.
One of the houses which was searched enjoys a spacious driveway to the front.
A caravan and several large vehicles were parked there this Wednesday as CAB officers milled around the large metal gates on the roadside. Gardai have confirmed that during the course of the searches at two houses in Rathkeale two men were arrested.
They were taken to Newcastle West garda station where they were subsequently charged with minor public order offences.
The men, who are aged 26 and 47, were released on bail this Wednesday afternoon and are due to appear before a sitting of Newcastle West District Court early in the new year.