IRONDEQUOIT, N.Y., NOV. 13 -- Police say Thomas F. O'Connor's pilgrimage a decade ago in search of his Irish heritage drew him onto the wrong side of the law. It eventually led to his arrest in the Jan. 5 theft of $7.4 million from a Brink's armored car depot -- money that may have been destined for the Irish Republican Army, authorities say.

O'Connor was arrested at his home Friday. An Irish priest, the Rev. Patrick Moloney, and Samuel Millar, an illegal Irish immigrant with alleged ties to the IRA, were charged today with possession of stolen property -- about 350 pounds of cash. All are in custody.

Raids in New York City turned up eight suitcases and duffel bags packed with money -- about half the haul from the robbery, FBI Special Agent William Doran said at a news conference in New York.

O'Connor, 54, for 20 years was a Rochester policeman and detective, retiring in July 1982. He later took a job as a security guard for Genesee Brewing Co. and, in 1990, began the same line of work for Brink's Inc. Federal agents have long suspected the holdup was an inside job.

Sometime in the 1980s, O'Connor became active in NORAID, or Irish Northern Aid, which helps families of prisoners caught in Northern Ireland's quarter-century of political and religious violence. The British government contends the U.S.-based group is a front to funnel weapons to the IRA.

In 1983, during a tour of his parents' native land, O'Connor was introduced to Millar, who had spent six years in prison for explosives and firearms convictions, according to a court affidavit. A year later, after Millar was refused a U.S. visa because of his criminal background, O'Connor helped smuggle him into this country, the affidavit said.

Moloney and his brother John were arrested in 1980 when they allegedly attempted to smuggle weapons into Ireland from the United States, the affidavit said. Moloney was not prosecuted, but his brother was convicted.