Prostitution racket - garda launch investigation

Clonmel was one of 12 towns and cities around the country that were the focus of a two-day garda operation last week targeting a criminal gang’s prostitution racket.

Clonmel was one of 12 towns and cities around the country that were the focus of a two-day garda operation last week targeting a criminal gang’s prostitution racket.

Gardai searched 22 premises including apartments, flats and houses at locations in regional towns and cities and 11 locations in the Dublin area last Thursday and Friday.

A man aged in his 30s was arrested on suspicion of money laundering during the search of an apartment in Swords in Dublin last Thursday.

He was detained under Section 4 of the Criminal Justice Act, 1984 at Ballymun Garda Station and released without charge last Friday evening pending the submission of a file to the DPP.

More than 60 gardai were involved in the nationwide operation including members of the Organised Crime Unit, local detective units and uniformed gardai.

The regional towns and cities at the centre of the garda investigation are Clonmel, Limerick, Waterford, Cork, Letterkenny, Dundalk, Cavan, Mullingar, Ballina, Ennis, Newbridge.

Gardai confirmed plans to search a premises in Clonmel as part of the operation last week didn’t go ahead for operational reasons.

The searches followed a six month long investigation by the Organised Crime Unit into the activities of a criminal gang involved in organised prostitution, brothel keeping and other associated criminal activity.

A Garda Press Office spokesman said the operation was conducted in close co-operation with Europol as part of an initiative targeting mobile organised crime gangs active throughout Europe.

He said evidence of suspected prostitution activity was detected at a number of the locations searched and Gardaí seized documentation, mobile phones, computers and money.

A number of women present at these locations were interviewed by Gardaí and have been offered support and advice.