Gardaí find evidence of major fuel-laundering operation after raids in 10 counties13/03/2013 - 13:02:48
The Criminal Assets Bureau and Gardaí have found evidence of fuel laundering after they raided a number of properties connected with key members of a Louth-based criminal gang this morning.
As part of the major investigation into fuel-laundering, around 200 officers from the Gardaí, CAB, the Regional Support Unit and Revenue raided 19 homes, businesses and warehouses in 10 counties supported by the Emergency Response Unit, the Garda Air Support Unit and the Air Corps.
The 19 searches were carried out in counties Louth, Monaghan, Dublin, Kildare, Waterford, Offaly, Roscommon, Westmeath, Meath and Tipperary as part of 'Operation Loft'.
The raids uncovered large quantity of cash at two of the locations and a fuel-laundering plant with the capability of laundering several hundreds of thousands of litres of diesel.
This would result in a potential throughput of 10 million litres per annum and a consequential loss to the Exchequer of €5.5m.
They also found more than 40,000 litres of what is believed to be laundered fuel on the site as well as a significant quantity of a product known as Bleaching Earth (over 150bags).
In addition, 16 tanks each containing 1,000 litres of sludge, which is the waste product resulting from the laundering process, and a 40ft container were also recovered.
The Criminal Assets Bureau have also frozen in excess of 25 bank accounts suspected to be linked to this operation.
A quanity of business records and computers were also seized and will be now subject to forensic examination by CAB.
A number of similar raids have been carried out by around 100 PSNI and Customs officers north of the border.
Operation Loft is a major multi agency and cross-jurisdictional investigation into the profits generated by the illegal fuel trade. It is focusing on a criminal gang based in Co Louth.
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