Irish police seize vehicles, cash, documents in smuggling probe

Irish police seized vehicles, cash and documents at 10 properties near the Northern Irish border on Thursday as part of an international smuggling investigation.

DUBLIN, Nov 7 (Reuters) - Irish police seized vehicles, cash and documents at 10 properties near the Northern Irish border on Thursday as part of an international smuggling investigation.

They declined to specify if people trafficking was involved, but said the operation was unrelated to the deaths of 39 migrants found in the back of a truck near London last month.

British police have charged two Northern Irish men with manslaughter over the deaths and appealed to two brothers from the region, suspected of manslaughter and trafficking, to hand themselves in.

The group targeted in Thursday's raids in the border county of Monaghan is suspected of involvement in international smuggling for over a year, and the investigation into its activities has intensified over the past two weeks, police said.

They seized four vehicles, records, electronic devices and almost 3,000 euros worth of cash in euro, dollar and sterling denominations. Restraining orders in respect of several accounts were also made in an Irish court, a police statement added.

In a related operation on Tuesday, two tractor trailers, including one registered in Bulgaria, were seized at Dublin Port.

The truck in which British police found the 39 bodies was registered in Bulgaria by a company owned by an Irish woman, Bulgaria's Foreign Ministry said.

Police said no arrests had been made of people suspected of involvement in both incidents.

(Reporting by Padraic Halpin; editing by John Stonestreet)

((padraic.halpin@thomsonreuters.com; +353 1 500 1504; Reuters Messaging: padraic.halpin.thomsonreuters.com@reuters.net))

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