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Suspicious transactions 'Main player' in Longford feud arrested as part of major money laundering probe

He is the brains of a particular faction in this feud and has had no problem displaying trappings of his ill-got wealth,” a senior source said.

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A 47-year-old criminal who is considered the “main player” in the bitter Longford feud has been arrested by gardai this morning on suspicion of deception and money laundering involving more than €100,000.

The early morning arrest follows a lengthy investigation by Longford gardai and the Criminal Assets Bureau into a number of suspicious bank loans and property transactions over a four year period.

The suspect cannot be named here for legal reasons because he is facing serious charges before the courts but senior sources describe him “as a violent individual who has access to firearms.”

“He is the brains of a particular faction in this feud and has had no problem displaying trappings of his ill-got wealth,” a senior source said.

Gardai announced details of this morning’s saying that the suspect was arrested at 7.30am and is currently detained at Longford Garda Station under the provisions of Section 4 of the Criminal Justice Act 1984.

The arrested man was one of the main targets of a massive CAB operation last July led to led to the seizure of €110,000 and £14,000 Sterling in cash, the seizure of 11 vehicles, three caravans and designer watches, handbags and clothing.

Specialist armed garda national units backed up local officers as they raided 12 homes, three professional premises and a solicitor’s office.

Last year, three members of the gang walked free from court after receiving suspended sentences in relation to a violent fracas that inflamed the midlands feud.

There was controversy after the court hearing when it emerged that local Fianna Fail TD Joe Flaherty wrote a letter on behalf of the accused men to the court which he later explained was not a character reference or a plea for clemency.

Investigations have established the gang have bought at least four properties on the same road in a housing estate and a large parcel of development land in Co Longford.

It is estimated that one property which was raided last July had around €500,000 worth of upgrades made to it including “marble on every internal surface and pure granite pillars and fittings.”

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Senior gardai have become increasingly concerned that the gang who have been involved in a one sided feud with members of the Stokes family in Co Longford have been building up a “property and business empire” in the midlands county.

However efforts to dismantle this property empire have been ongoing for almost two years and today’s arrest is part of that operation.

Because of the massive garda clampdown on the mob there has been barely any feud incidents in Longford this calendar year.

Apart from drug dealing, the gang are also suspected of involvement in organised prostitution and ordering violent feud attacks.

A massive policing plan was put in place after a number of shocking incidents in February of last year which included a two year old girl being lucky to escape with her life when shots were fired into a front door as she innocently played in a hallway of the property.

Days earlier an innocent family were terrorized when shots were fired at the same home in the Edgeworthstown area of Co Longford two times in the space of just three days.

Under 'Operation Stola', gardaí have initiated a major crackdown on the gang’s activities in Co Longford with armed officers regularly being deployed.

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