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An Garda Síochána's recently-published 2021 report outlines the force's activity in the last 12 months. Sasko Lazarov
An Garda Síochána

Gardaí have intercepted 77 assassination attempts since Regency murder, report reveals

The research shows the amount of drugs seized by Gardaí last year increased by 73.5% to €63.68 million.

GARDAÍ HAVE THWARTED 77 assassinations since the murder of David Byrne at the Regency Hotel in February 2016.

That is according to An Garda Síochána’s 2021 report, which confirmed that the amount of drugs seized by Gardaí last year increased by 73.5% to €63.68 million.

A note attached to the report states that the €63.68 million total doesn’t include an additional quantity of a substance, believed to be cocaine, with a potential estimated street value of over €30 million.

The suspected €30 million cocaine seizure has not been included as it is part of an ongoing investigation.

Also in the National Policing section, the reports records that €8.23 million in cash was forfeited to the State in 2021 after relevant court proceedings.

The document also discloses that 44 victims of human trafficking – 28 of whom were female and 16 of whom were males – were identified by Gardaí in 2021, up six from 2020.

It details work by the Garda National Bureau of Criminal Investigation (GNBCI) into the sale of counterfeit and forged works of art, and the disruption of criminal networks engaged in the theft and laundering of cultural property within the State.

In one case study detailed in the report, it states that in May 2021, GNBCI launched an investigation into the false attribution of paintings to an established painter, now deceased.

The report states that “this fraud was discovered by a relative of the artist after a painting failed to sell via an online auction.
“An examination of the painting revealed that the painting was not an original piece and further investigations established that several falsely attributed paintings were sold in this jurisdiction, and also in Northern Ireland.”

It adds that “the investigation is ongoing”.

In details of a Stolen Motor Vehicle Investigation Unit (SMVIU), the report states that in January 2021, following an extensive investigation by SMVIU, directions were received from the DPP to prefer multiple charges against five suspects who are members of an Organised Crime Group (OCG) involved in the theft of classic cars from elderly, vulnerable victims across the State.

It says that “a number of victims outside the State were also subjected to deception, resulting in significant financial loss.”

In an operation in February 2021, SMVIU searched a location in Co. Meath and recovered an electronic device disguised as a ‘Nintendo Gameboy’ that could intercept key fob security systems enabling the theft of cars.

The report states that this was the second time similar devices were recovered by SMVIU in 12 months, disrupting the activities of criminals involved in vehicle theft.

It also reveals that the Garda Air Support Unit last year detained 111 suspects and located 14 missing persons. The Air Support Unit last year completed 1,202 flights and flew 1,080 hours.

The Garda Dog Unit last year recovered over €4 million in drugs and cash.

Under the heading of National Security and Intelligence, the report records that 149 negotiator activations for 2021 – an increase of 60% on 2020.

The report states that “crisis intervention, mental health barricades and domestic/criminal barricades continue to be the mainstay of the work carried out by negotiators.”

It outlines that “incidents involving or suspected to involve firearms have increased by 144%, from nine to 22. There were three murder/suicide incidents in the past 12 months to which negotiators responded.”

Anti-spit guards were introduced for use in very limited circumstances as a health and safety measure to protect Gardaí in 2021.

The report states that later, there were 183 spitting assaults on Gardaí while anti-spit guards were deployed on 26 occasions.

It also notes that “data shows that there were significantly more spitting attacks on Gardaí than deployments of anti-spit guards.”