Amid public fears over the visible heroin problem in Waterford, a 15-strong Garda team – specially trained by the Criminal Assets Bureau – are actively monitoring the wealth of alleged underworld figures in the city, county and the wider southeast region.

Seven of these ‘Asset Profilers’ are based in the Waterford/Kilkenny Division, with three each in Tipperary and Wexford.

When the amended Garda divisional boundaries are finalised, five Asset Profilers will be based in the Waterford Division, four in Carlow/Kilkenny, and the same number as before in Tipperary and Wexford.

Justice Minister Dermot Ahern, who was replying to a Dáil question by Wexford Fine Gael Deputy Michael D’Arcy on the divisional breakdown, said these officers are vital to the ongoing work of the CAB in identifying and targeting the assets of persons suspected to derive directly or indirectly from criminal conduct.

Divisional Profilers have responsibility for providing information on suspects operating within their area, particularly those believed to be involved in drug dealing and serious criminal activity. They are making a valuable contribution to the Criminal Assets Bureau in pursuing its statutory remit, as well as ensuring that criminals are deprived of the proceeds of crime.

The Southeast has the highest complement of ‘APs’ in any division outside of Dublin and the Northern Border region.

In tracking so-called drug gang ‘lieutenants’ – the network of mid-rank traffickers who supply street dealers on behalf of crime bosses – profilers operate locally and file reports to the CAB for further investigation.