Gar­dai res­cue men forced to work on Cork farms by crim­i­nal gang

Irish Independent - Farming - - NEWS -

GAR­DAI in north Cork res­cued three Eastern Euro­pean men whom they be­lieve were be­ing held against their will by a crim­i­nal gang based in the area who were send­ing them out to work on farms and fac­to­ries.

Gar­dai from Charlevill­e and Mal­low backed by up mem­bers of the Armed Sup­port Unit and the Garda Dog Unit raided two houses last week, one in the Charlevill­e area and one in the Church­town area, early on Sun­day morning as part of an in­ves­ti­ga­tion into hu­man traf­fick­ing.

Gar­dai had been con­tacted by Welsh po­lice after a young Eastern Euro­pean woman went into a po­lice sta­tion in Wales late on Satur­day night to say that her brother was be­ing held against his will by a group of her coun­try­men at a lo­ca­tion in north Cork.

Gar­dai quickly put to­gether a search party and some 25 of­fi­cers raided the two houses si­mul­ta­ne­ously where, with the aid of an in­ter­preter, they es­tab­lished that three men, all aged in their mid-20s, were be­ing held against their will.

Gar­dai es­tab­lished that the Eastern Euro­pean gang had con­fis­cated the men’s pass­ports and had put them work­ing as labour­ers on local farms or fac­to­ries while pro­vid­ing them with bed and board in a num­ber of rented houses.

Gar­dai also es­tab­lished that gang mem­bers would ac­com­pany the young men to a local bank where they were forced to with­draw money and to hand it over to the gang as they had been threat­ened by gang mem­bers and were in fear of their lives.

In­ves­ti­ga­tors are try­ing to es­tab­lish how long the three men have been in Ire­land but they be­lieve that they may have been smug­gled into the coun­try in vans by gang mem­bers who reg­u­larly travel be­tween their home in Eastern Europe and Ire­land via Cher­bourg to Ross­lare fer­ries. The three men re­moved from the houses in the Charlevill­e and Church­town ar­eas were this week taken to a safe place and in­ter­viewed by gar­dai who also seized a large quan­tity of documentat­ion, a small quan­tity of co­caine and a firearm in the search of the two premises.

The Garda Press Office stated that no ar­rests have been made to date, but that the in­ves­ti­ga­tion is on­go­ing and it’s un­der­stood that gar­dai are li­ais­ing with po­lice in Eastern Europe to es­tab­lish if any of the gang mem­bers have con­vic­tions there.

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