Balkans crime gang linked to €500,000 cash seized in Dublin raid

Gardaí suspect cash was owned by gang involved in the cocaine trade and comprised mainly of Albanian nationals

Gardaí believe they have disrupted the activities of a Balkans crime gang that has been active on the Irish drugs scene following the seizure of around €500,000 during intelligence-led searches in central Dublin. One woman has been arrested while documents and equipment used to pack drugs and cash were also found.

The money was discovered during searches by the Garda National Drugs and Organised Crime Bureau (DOCB) as part of an investigation into a crime gang comprised mainly of Albanian nationals. The gang targeted in the raids have been involved in the cocaine trade across Europe, and have a presence in Ireland.

The seizure of the cash, a significant amount in the context of organised crime in the Republic, follows an operation last year when an Albanian drugs gang was linked to one of the biggest cocaine seizures in Ireland in 2023.

Gardaí have been concerned that, after taking a significant share of the cocaine market in Britain, Albanian criminal networks were also working in Ireland. This has involved selling drugs into the Irish market and also using the island of Ireland as a forwarding based for the much bigger illicit drugs market in Britain.

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“This seizure of approximately half a million euros in cash is a significant blow to an organised criminal group,” Assistant Commissioner Justin Kelly, head of organised and serious crime, said of the cash discovered during Friday’s operation in Dublin.

“I commend the hard work and dedication of all the gardaí involved in this operation. Such work demonstrates An Garda Síochána’s commitment to disrupting criminal networks and preventing money laundering. The seizure of substantial quantities of cash is a priority for [DOCB] as cash often underpins and enables the activities of criminal organisations.”

The seizure was made after gardaí from DOCB, acting on intelligence, carried out searches in Dublin 2 on Friday, though news of the operation did not emerge until Saturday. A woman in her 40s was arrested on suspicion of offences contrary to Section 72 of the Criminal Justice Act, 2006.

As well as the cash seized, gardaí also confiscated vacuum packing machinery and documents, which were now being examined as part of the investigation.

“The woman is currently detained at a Garda station in the Dublin Region, pursuant to the provisions of Section 50 of the Criminal Justice Act, 2007, allowing for a maximum detention period of seven days,” a Garda statement issued on Saturday said.

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