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Up in Smoke Ireland's top cigarette smuggler settles €1m CAB case and agrees to hand over land and house

Cigarette kingpin Aidan Grew is burned for his €1m development lands and border property but gets to keep his bungalow


Aidan Grew moved across the border and back

Aidan Grew moved across the border and back

Aidan Grew moved across the border and back

Ireland's top cigarette smuggler and his wife have settled a €1million case with the Irish Criminal Assets Bureau and agreed to hand over development lands and a house near the border.

However, Aidan and Nuala Grew will keep their home in picturesque Glaslough on the edge of the famous Castle Leslie estate in Co Monaghan as part of their agreement with the Bureau.

The settlement means that Grew is not contesting the proceeds of crime case that was taken against him by CAB, who had identified a property portfolio they say he amassed through smuggling contraband fags across the border.

A property at Drummans in Scotstown and development land at Glaslough and Mullaghmatt estimated to be worth more €1m have been forfeited to the State and a receiver has been appointed over them.

The assets will be sold off on the open market in the near future when all the legal documents in relation to the properties are signed and sanctioned by the High Court.

A Mercedes car was also retained by the couple as part of their settlement, meaning CAB doesn't have to go through a costly court case to fight them for the other assets.

The case has taken just two years to conclude after an investigation which began in 2019 with a series of raids on border properties connected with Grew that CAB hoped would unlock the secrets of his suspected property portfolio.

It is understood that local officers had identified development lands they suspected Grew had snapped up and was hoping to commence residential building works on.


Thomas ‘Slab’ Murphy was jailed

Thomas ‘Slab’ Murphy was jailed

Thomas ‘Slab’ Murphy was jailed


Grew, a country music enthusiast, was under surveillance by Monaghan gardaí for years as he moved across the border a number of times each week, often starting his day on one side and ending it on the other, frustrating efforts to track his movements and activities.

His wife Nuala is a permanent resident in Glaslough, where she takes pride in her well-kept bungalow on the fringes of the Castle Leslie estate.

Despite being 65 years of age, Grew is still one of the country's most prolific smugglers and has grown filthy rich from his trade.

He is understood to source cigarettes from factories in Indonesia, China and Thailand which are shipped to the UK and Ireland.

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Officers believe he runs a network of 20 associates between Monaghan and Armagh who smuggle all sorts of commodities and earn upwards of €10 million a year.

All are Republicans who have claimed to be involved in criminality for political reasons but who have all amassed personal fortunes in the process.

His right-hand man is well-known republican Brian Arthurs, who previously received 25 years in prison on explosive charges, while Grew was sentenced to 15 years for a landmine attack in Armagh.

Grew is seen as an 'old school' republican criminal who lived a far less flashy lifestyle than some of his younger contemporaries, one of whom has an airplane landing strip on his vast rural home.

Like Thomas 'Slab' Murphy and others, Grew could pass as a regular rural farmer with his rugged complexion and 'ordinary' attire and lifestyle.

But behind the scenes many have amassed millionaires' fortunes which they have stashed away in properties and assets they have no interest to enjoy.

A barrister for the Criminal Assets Bureau told the High Court earlier this month that a consent agreement had been signed in relation to the case and that affidavits had been opened in court.

The agreement was signed on the basis that the Glaslough family home was excluded from the settlement along with an amount of cash and the Mercedes car. The case was adjourned.

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