Waterford News

Cash, crypto, and devices seized during searches including Waterford properties

Cash, crypto, and devices seized during searches including Waterford properties

As part of Operation Stargrew, Gardaí, with Europol and other international Law Enforcement Agencies, conducted 12 searches at locations across counties Waterford, Dublin, and Kildare between Tuesday and Wednesday.

During these searches, €42,000 in cash, €10,000 in cryptocurrency, 82 smartphones, 25 computers, 9 tablet devices, and a Rolex watch were seized.

The searches were led by Gardaí from the Garda National Economic Crime Bureau (GNECB), with assistance from Gardaí at the Armed Support Unit, Garda National Cyber Crime Bureau, Garda National Immigration Bureau, Garda Dog Unit, Gardaí seconded to the Special Investigation Unit at the Department of Social Protection, the Criminal Assets Bureau, and local units in the DMR West and DMR South Divisions.

Operation Stargrew targets individuals suspected to be involved in organized fraud, where bulk "Phishing” or "Smishing” text messages are sent out, which are designed to deceive people into providing their personal data and credentials for the purposes of fraud.


Many of these appear to be from banks and service providers.

This week under Operation Stargrew, law enforcement from 19 countries severely disrupted one of the world’s largest phishing-as-a-service platforms, known as LabHost.

This year-long operation, coordinated at the international level by Europol, resulted in the compromise of LabHost’s infrastructure.

The LabHost platform, previously available on the open web, has been shut down and now displays a law enforcement splash page.


The Irish operation, co-ordinated by the GNECB, was carried out jointly with Europol, and other Law Enforcement Agencies from participating EU and non-EU countries.

Two males were arrested during the course of the operation.

One of the males arrested has been charged and will appear before the courts at a later date.

Irish Connections

It is suspected that there are approximately 116 users of this LabHost website/web service who have a connection to Ireland.


Gardaí have identified in excess of 150,000 instances of a person responding to a Phishing link, and this link is suspected to be associated with the 116 users.

The above LabHost users were primarily targeting Irish residents, (135,000 persons) but have also targeted persons in other countries including Australia, Finland, United Kingdom, New Zealand, Austria, Norway, Estonia, and many other countries.

Types of Crime Committed

The typical wording of a Phishing text message infers that some action is promptly required by the recipient of the message.

These Smishing / Phishing messages are designed so that the recipient feels pressure to respond to the message, to prevent their bank from being defrauded, to prevent a bill from increasing, or to pay a bill such as customs charges etc.

Text messages are sent to potential victims purporting to be from genuine companies or institutions.

When the person clicks a link in the message, they are deceived into giving data to the criminals allowing them to be defrauded.

Once the victim clicks on the URL link, they are directed to a fake website that resembles a genuine one.

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