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Gardai target South American gang after raid finds 'significant number' of illegal immigrants working in Meath factory

As part of Operation Camomile, a number of fraudulent ID documents were also seized at the premises

The Garda National Immigration Bureau (GNIB) on Burgh Quay in Dublin Photo: Gareth Chaney Collins

Ali Bracken

Gardai are targeting a South American organised crime gang after a raid on a business in Meath found a 'significant' number of illegal immigrants working in factory.

As part of the multi-agency operation Camomile, a number of fraudulent ID documents were also seized at the premises and a nearby residence.

The garda operation was part of an investigation into human trafficking and targeting those involved in facilitating illegal immigration into Ireland.

It's understood a 'significant number' of people working in the premises were illegally living in Ireland and using fake documentation, gardaí said.

However, an informed source said gardai are not criminally targeting the people who were trafficked, but instead the Organised Crime Gang (OCG) behind it. These criminals are also South American and have been living in Ireland for some time.

The operation was carried out alongside the Department of Social Protection and the Workplace Relations Commission.

"In the course of the operation, a significant number of persons working at the premises were identified as being illegally present in the State and working in breach of the Employment Permits Act on the basis of fraudulent documentation,” a garda statement read.

"All persons present were interviewed and a number of fraudulent documents were seized, along with personnel files and mobile phones.

“From intelligence obtained during the operation, a subsequent follow-up search was carried out at a nearby private residence. A number of items were seized including fraudulent European ID documents and electronic devices,” it added.

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