Three top Gardaí (Irish Police) have been arrested as part of a corruption probe within the force.
A Garda superintendent, an inspector, and a ranking member were detained after operational raids on a number of premises Thursday morning.
The officers are being questioned on suspicion of being involved in “the commission of one or more criminal offenses,” a Garda statement read.
The superintendent is being investigated on suspicion of breaching legislation which relates to passing on information obtained in the course of Garda duties.
The inspector is being questioned over suspected breaches of the misuse of drugs act and the Garda is being investigated under suspicion of perverting the course of justice.
The Garda National Bureau of Criminal Investigation (GNBCI) and the Garda National Drugs and Organised Crime Bureau (GNDOCB) took part in the raids and the operation was led by the Assistant Commissioner of Special Crime Operations investigating the suspected disclosure of information from a Criminal Assets Bureau (CAB) investigation into an organized criminal gang in the midwest of Ireland.
It is understood the raids are part of a wider investigation of the Munster-based crime gang and its connections with serving members of An Garda Síochána.
The gang is suspected of being involved in various criminal activity including drug trafficking and its assets have been targeted by the Criminal Assets Bureau.
In its largest operation so far this year, CAB carried out eight searches in Limerick, Tipperary, and Dublin in March.
It seized 115 cars and thousands in euro and sterling, which it believes to be the proceeds of crime.
However, RTÉ News reports that CAB also suspected that information from its investigation had been leaked to members of the criminal gang.
Deputy Commissioner John Twomey said in a statement: “An Garda Síochána is fully committed to investigating any alleged wrongdoing or corruption involving Garda personnel, and will work with other relevant agencies in doing so.
"As this is a live and ongoing investigation, it is not appropriate to make any further comment at this time.”
Following the arrests this morning, Minister for Justice Charlie Flanagan said: "While I obviously can’t comment on individual cases, I expect a thorough and timely investigation."
Taoiseach Leo Varadkar told reporters he has yet to receive a briefing from the minister on the arrests but described them a “serious development."
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