Sunday 25 September 2016

Army is guarding €1m fleet of luxury cars seized by CAB from Kinahan gang

Paul Williams

Published 29/03/2016 | 02:30

'It is understood that senior gardaí made the decision to store the €1m fleet in the Curragh to prevent any attempts by the gang to either steal the vehicles or have them destroyed' (Stock photo)
'It is understood that senior gardaí made the decision to store the €1m fleet in the Curragh to prevent any attempts by the gang to either steal the vehicles or have them destroyed' (Stock photo)

A fleet of high performance cars, SUVs and motorbikes seized as part of a CAB investigation into the Kinahan crime cartel are under armed guard in the country's largest military base.

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The collection of 29 top-end Mercedes, BMW, Golf GTI, Lexus and Landcruiser models, as well as six high-powered motorbikes, are being stored in a compound at the Defence Forces Training Centre (DFTC) in the Curragh Camp.

It is understood that senior gardaí made the decision to store the €1m fleet in the Curragh to prevent any attempts by the gang to either steal the vehicles or have them destroyed.

According to sources, the vehicles are parked in a compound that is guarded by armed soldiers in the heart of the sprawling military camp -which is home to 2,000 troops, including elite Army Rangers.

Sources have also revealed that CAB took the added precaution of employing car manufacturers to rechip the luxury Irish and UK-registered vehicles.

The fleet was seized three weeks ago when CAB, backed up by heavily armed units, swooped on a dozen homes and businesses in south and west Dublin.

The vehicles were taken from a car salesroom jointly owned by criminal Liam Byrne, who gardaí believe was one of the intended targets of the Regency Hotel attack on February 5. His brother David was murdered during the military-style assault, and two other men were injured.

The cars seized include an AMG Mercedes worth over €100,000 and the motorbikes are valued at between €30,000 and €40,000 each.

Gardaí believe the vehicles were being exchanged as payment for drug shipments as well as transporting the narcotics.

Jewellery and other valuables, including 10 Rolex watches, were also seized along with over €100,000 cash and a betting slip for a football match worth €38,000.

In the Crumlin home of Liam Byrne, gardaí discovered a purpose-built panic room, a state-of-the-art security system, bullet-proof windows and blast-proof doors which were intended to protect him against attack. The house was also fitted out with a Jacuzzi, sauna and a bar stocked with Moet and Bollinger Champagne.

Sources have revealed that the Byrnes and their associates are planning to mount a legal fight against CAB for the return of the seized property.

Irish Independent

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