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File photo Leah Farrell/

Gardaí and Defence Forces make swoop for assets of Limerick drug gang in major operation

Three men aged in their 30s and 40s were arrested during this operation.

LAST UPDATE | 27 Apr 2023

GARDAÍ, SUPPORTED BY Defence Forces soldiers swooped on properties and lands across Limerick today, in a planned operation targeting the assets of a drugs gang based on the south side of the city. 

The organised crime group whose base is in the Southill area of Limerick City, are aligned to criminals who were involved in a gang feud which claimed 19 lives, including innocent members of the public, and injured dozens more, in the early to mid-2000s. 

The gang targeted by gardaí today have been involved in a number of localised feuds with other criminal groups on the south side of Limerick. 

Associates of the group also have convictions in relation to a shooting in which they targeted members of the Dundon McCarthy criminal group. 

An innocent young person was wounded in the broad daylight drive-by shooting. 

The Dundon mob has been largely broken up by gardaí after some off their own associates testified against senior members of the gang in a number of high profile, murder trials which secured convictions and life sentences of the gang leaders. 

The Southill gang have attempted to fill a gap in the Limerick drugs market on the south side of Limerick since the break-up of the Dundon mob, according to reliable sources. 

“Where there is drugs there is money, and that’s the bottom line,” said a source familiar with the Southill gang’s criminal activities. 

Today, gardaí searched properties and lands in Southill in Limerick City, as well as Pallasgreen and Caherconlish which are located in south east county Limerick. 

Garda officers attached to the Criminal Assets Bureau (CAB) supported local armed garda and detective units, drugs units, as well as the Organised Crime Bureau and Garda Dog Unit. 

“Todays’s search was conducted as part of an ongoing proceeds of crime investigation targeting assets including properties deriving in whole or part from the proceeds of criminal activity,” added a reliable source. 

There was up to 20 searches conducted today in relation to a “criminal grouping based predominantly in the Southill area and with connections with the Pallasgreen and Caherconlish areas of county Limerick”, another source confirmed. 

Gardaí also suspect an senior associate of the gang, who is predominantly based abroad, of involvement in money laundering for Limerick drug gangs. 

The Southill gang have long been on the radar of gardaí in Limerick for at least a decade. 

Associates of the Southill gang have convictions for serious crimes including gun attacks and burglary. 

Individuals linked to the gang were involved in a shooting which targeted members of the Dundon McCarthy gang in which an innocent child was injured. 

Another close associate of a senior member of the Southill group, who lost his life in a road traffic collision, had amassed around 40 criminal convictions. 

Counting on today’s operation a garda spokesman said gardaí conducted “an intelligence led operation targeting the activities of an organised crime group in the Limerick Region”. 

The spokesman said “searches were carried out at 18 properties” across Limerick City and County “by gardaí from Limerick Division and the Criminal Assets Bureau supported by Garda National Drugs and Organised Crime Bureau (GNDOCB), the Garda Armed Support Unit and Garda Dog Unit”. 

“Two open areas of land in the Southill area of Limerick City were also searched by An Garda Síochána supported by the Irish Defence Forces,” the spokesperson said. 

“Property seized during the course of these searches include a BMW, an item of designer jewellery, a number of electronic items and six shotgun cartridges. Drugs were also seized including approximately €64,600 of suspected amphetamine and approximately €89,600 of suspected cannabis. Approximately €76,580 in cash was recovered with a further €18,000 frozen in credit union accounts,” the garda spokesperson said. 

“Three men aged in their 30s and 40s were arrested during this operation and are currently detained at garda stations in the Limerick Region.”

The three arrested men are attested on suspicion of drugs offences, they are associates of the Southill gang, not direct members of the gang, according to reliable sources.

When asked for comment on its involvement in the operation, a Defence Forces spokeswoman confirmed it was “assisting in an Aid to the Civil Power operation on request from An Garda Síochána”. 

The army spokeswoman added that, for “security reasons” the Defence Forces “do not comment on operations”. 

Investigations are ongoing. 

With reporting by Hayley Halpin

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