Three men have been sent to prison in Romania for trafficking Romanian people into Ireland for labour exploitation.

41-year-old Remus Fusteac was jailed for seven years, while his 21-year-old son Arthur Sergiu and his nephew Alexandru, 20, were both sentenced to five years in prison.

They were found guilty of human trafficking, running an organised crime syndicate, money laundering and possession of firearms.

They were arrested and charged following a joint investigation by the Garda National Immigration Bureau and the Romanian Police.

The Fusteac family ran a criminal gang which trafficked people from Romania to Ireland where they were subsequently the victims of labour exploitation.

The gang's operations centred on smuggling people, including at least one child, to Enniscorthy, Co Wexford.

Gardaí have identified 28 people trafficked into the country but there could be more. The gang is estimated to have made over €100,000 in two years

The victims paid €2,500 to be smuggled into Ireland on the promise of jobs which paid €2,000 a week. Needless to say they were never paid that much, but most of the money they earned here had to be handed over to the traffickers.

If they did not hand the money over they were threatened - some at gunpoint - and beaten up.

Many of the victims lived in squalor and worked from as early as 5am to midnight seven days a week.

The gang was broken up following an investigation by gardaí from Wexford and the Garda National Immigration Bureau.

They set up Operation Sibling, which involved the Romanian police and a series of raids were carried out in Enniscorthy, Clonroche and Knockmore.