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money haul Gardai probe crime network run by two brothers after €160k cash seizure in Athlone

The major cash haul was found concealed in a vehicle that was stopped in the Athlone area of Westmeath on Friday night.

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Some of the money recovered by the Gardaí. Photo: Gardaí

Some of the money recovered by the Gardaí. Photo: Gardaí

Some of the money recovered by the Gardaí. Photo: Gardaí

Detectives are investigating an emerging crime network run by two brothers in the Midlands after seizing €160,000 worth of cash in a stop and search operation.

The major cash haul was found concealed in a vehicle that was stopped in the Athlone area of Westmeath on Friday night.

The driver of the car, a 21-year-old Romanian man, was arrested in relation to money laundering offences and was brought to Mullingar garda station.

He was held for a number of hours and questioned before being released without charge in an operation carried out by the Athlone Crime and Drugs Unit.

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€160,000 in cash was found concealed in the car. Photo: Gardaí

€160,000 in cash was found concealed in the car. Photo: Gardaí

€160,000 in cash was found concealed in the car. Photo: Gardaí

Gardaí believe the cash is the proceeds of drug dealing in the Midlands and are carrying out inquiries into the low-key crime network.

The arrested man has no previous convictions but is suspected of involvement in the drugs trade along with his brother.

The other sibling was previously arrested last year after his home was searched and nearly €10,000 worth of cash was seized.

Cannabis was also discovered and detectives believe he was growing the drug in his home for the purpose of selling it.

A source has said: “This pair have no major connections which the gardaí are aware of and inquiries into this network are ongoing.

“They are already on the garda radar on suspicion of drug dealing but it’s now believed they are operating on a larger scale than previously thought.

“The seizure of €160,000 in cash is a significant amount and it’s being looked at if they are working as part of a larger criminal enterprise,” the source added.

Garda headquarters announced details of the major cash seizure over the weekend.

They said that officers carried out a stop and search operation in the Auburn Villas area of Athlone at around 9.30pm on Friday.

Gardaí from the local Crime and Drugs Unit stopped a vehicle and searched it under Section 23 of the Misuse of Drugs Act 1977/84.

During the search of the vehicle the €160,000 in cash was discovered concealed in the car.

A garda spokesman said: “One man (sole occupant of car) aged 21 years was arrested at the scene and taken to Mullingar Garda station where he was detained under Section 4 of the Criminal Justice Act, 1984.

“This man has since been released without charge and a file will be prepared for the Director of Public Prosecutions,” the spokesman added.

Gardaí also seized the car involved and investigations into the significant seizure are ongoing.

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