During an intelligence led search, which took place at 5pm this evening, 25 phones were recovered from the D2 landing alongside chargers, sim cards and drug paraphernalia believed to include a bag of syringes.
During a search of the D3 Landing, a total of eight phones were recovered including three brand new iPhones, sim cards, USB sticks and chargers.
One of the new iPhones, together with an envelope containing 5 sim cards, was discovered in the cell of a senior cartel member who is serving a life sentence for murder.
This inmate cannot be named as he currently before the courts charged with a serious criminal offence.
Following the search, during which the prison was locked down, the cartel criminal was removed from the Midlands and transferred back to maximum security Portlaoise.
“You wouldn’t see the like of it in Carphone Warehouse,” a source told the Sunday World.
“These lads had access to every type of a phone meaning they had unfettered contact with gangland on the outside.
“We’ve seen before the level of damage gangland criminals can do from inside prison if they have access to a phone.”
The source said of significant concern to prison officers is the fact D2 houses some of the most notorious Limerick criminals in the system.
Among those incarcerated on D3 are Christy Costello, John Coughlan and James Dillon.
Christopher Costello, of the McCarthy-Dundon crime gang, is serving life in prison for the murder of rival crime boss Kieran Keane in 2003
John Coughlan, (35), of Pineview Gardens, Moyross, Limerick, is serving life imprisonment for the murder of father-of-two Daniel Treacy, (35), at the Topaz garage, Caherdavin, Limerick, February 22, 2010.
And James Dillon is serving life for the murder of innocent Limerick businessman Roy Collins.
Mr Collins, a 35-year-old father of two, who was engaged to be married, died in hospital a short time after he was shot at Coin Castle Amusements, Roxboro Road on April 9, 2009
Mr. Collins father, Steve Collins, had been targeted by the Dundons, due to his involvement in a previous successful prosecution against Wayne Dundon for a threat to kill.
Dundon ordered the murder from prison using a contraband mobile phone.
Sources said a major investigation into tonight’ seizure involving both the Irish Prison Service and gardai will be launched.
“The number and types of phones indicate organised and ongoing smuggling of these devices into the prison,” a source said.
“Some of the phones seized are brand new.”
The source said prison officers in the Midlands had in recent times raised concerns over a number of initiatives allowing gangland criminals increased time outside their cells.
“When these lads have more time to mingle and plot, stuff like this is the inevitable consequence,” the source said.
A spokesperson for the Irish Prison Service said tonight it can “confirm that a substantial seizure of contraband has been seized in Midlands Prison on the 25th January 2023.
“The contraband was seized following an intelligence led security operation by Midlands Prison staff supported by the Operational Support Group.
“The Irish Prison Service has commenced an investigation into the seizure.”