Twelve arrested in organised crime investigation

TWELVE people were arrested in the city last week in a follow- up investigation into the illegal money-lending activities of an extended Waterford family suspected of buying up to 10 houses for cash, despite having no obvious income apart from Social Welfare.

Up to 30 Gardaí swooped on a number of houses in the Ballybeg area early on Tuesday morning, arresting three men and three women – aged from their 20s to their 50s.

They were held at various Garda stations in Waterford under Section 50 of the Criminal Justice Act, 2007.

A further six were arrested and detained at Waterford and Tramore Garda Stations during the week.

The arrests come in the wake of a major search operation involving over 100 Gardaí and members of the Criminal Assets Bureau earlier this month in which substantial financial documentation – as well as a number of vehicles, a firearm, stolen property and approximately €20,000 – were seized.

Gardaí are also investigating the gang for suspicions of extortion, drug-dealing and the sale of counterfeit or smuggled tobacco.

In a number of cases, it’s believed the gang appropriated the Childrens’ Allowance or Social Welfare card of their victims, charging them many multiples of the original loan in interest payments.

Amongst the documents examined by Gardaí are conveyancing documents covering the purchase of a number of houses in the city.

Garda sources have indicated that the entire lifestyle of the gang is being examined, including foreign holidays and the amount spent on decorating the homes purchased.

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