Notification of last week's CAB raids was withheld from local gardai
A NUMBER of gardai in Limerick are under investigation for serious corruption and malpractice.
Gardai in Limerick have found themselves at centre of one of the biggest internal corruption investigations of recent years, with at least two officers facing questioning on corruption and malpractice, it was confirmed at the weekend.
Specialist units of the gardai are not informing officers in Limerick of planned raids in case the information is given to criminals, according to a report in the Sunday Times.
It is believed a number of organised searches against the criminal organisation known as the Rathkeale Rovers were compromised last year.
Gardai in the city were not given any notice of a series of raids that were carried out on properties and businesses in the county in the past few weeks, in case the operation might be compromised, security sources told the Sunday Times.
Two private houses in west Limerick were searched on Friday March 15, as were the offices of two local solicitors who have had dealings with one or both of the men in the past.
One Limerick based detective allegedly received cash in return for providing the Rathkeale Rovers, a well known organised crime gang, with classified information on investigations.
The garda has already been arrested and suspended. He was identified by the force's security and intelligence division after they listened in on private telephone calls he was making to criminals using a "pay as you go phone" which he believed could not be traced.
It is believed that the officer received at least €20,000 for giving information on an investigation by the Criminal Assets Bureau (CAB) into the Rovers.
The gang, also known as the Rhino Rovers, became notorious for their suspected involvement in the theft of antique rhino horns from museums across Europe and America, as well as other serious crimes including fraud, drug dealing, and money laundering.
At least one other garda is believed to have been turned by the gang, after he was "blackmailed" into committing insurance fraud after they discovered he was involved in a sexual relationship with a young woman from Limerick. the suspected garda is a married man.
Gardai in Dublin are now trying to establish if any other members of the force have been targeted, as well as establishing how much damage has been done to intelligence-gathering operations in Munster.
The Criminal Assets Bureau conducted a major search operation targeting the assets and activities of criminals in Limerick.
Among the premises searched were houses and two car showrooms. The bureau seized 115 vehicles in the Limerick operation along with €43,000 and a Rolex watch. Documentation in relation to the ownership of assets financial documentation, mobile phones and electronic storage devices were also taken.
While no arrests were made, the Limerick Leader understands that one of the men who is the subject of investigation may have traveled to Spain over the weekend.
A short video of the second man – apparently socialising in a pub in North Cork – has been widely circulated in recent days.
In the video, which was allegedly recorded on the same day as the CAB operation, the man can seen with another man joking that they were “looking for a cab out of here” before adding they could not get a cab out of the named town.
"The extent of the problem in Limerick has yet to be determined. Two officers have been implicated," said a senior officer to the Sunday Times. "One sought and received possibly tens of thousands in bribes."