Thursday 21 September 2017

Crime bosses lose millions in 'Mr Clean' cocaine bust

Tom Brady Security Editor

CRIME bosses who invested in the record cocaine shipment recovered by detectives this week lost a massive €3m each as a result of the seizure, according to gardai.

Several drug trafficking gangs operating here, as well as investors from the UK and mainland Europe, have taken a huge financial hit.

It is understood they would have spent several years building up funds to purchase the consignment.

The main victims of the garda "sting" in this country are members of an organised crime gang based in west Dublin.

And their international contacts, including a Dublin criminal from the same area but now living in the Netherlands, are also thought to have suffered heavy losses.

A number of other gangs from the capital are also among the losers.

Gardai believe the seizure will put some of the gangs out of the drug trafficking business. Others will carry out internal inquiries to establish how the gardai learned of their money spinning plans, which would have turned some of the crime bosses into millionaires.

As gardai last night arrested a third man, a decision will be taken this morning on the immediate fate of the two suspects arrested by the garda national drugs unit during searches in counties Dublin and Kildare on Tuesday.

They will either be brought before the courts to face criminal charges today, or gardai will seek to extend their period in custody for questioning.

The latest suspect, who is in his 40s, was detained in Drimnagh, Dublin. All three are being held at Clondalkin garda station in Dublin, and can be held without charge for up to seven days.

One of the suspects, a 31-year-old Dubliner nicknamed Mr Clean because he was not known previously to gardai, was arrested in Leixlip after gardai raided a warehouse containing almost 390kg of cocaine in Blanchardstown.

He is alleged to have been used by the investors to organise and front the smuggling because he would not have been subject to regular garda surveillance.

The second suspect, a 42-year-old Nigerian man living in Dublin, was detained in Tallaght where officers seized a further 50kg of the drug.

'Links'

Mr Clean did not come to the notice of gardai until they began this operation, codenamed Agon, earlier this year. They are now trying to establish if the man had any alleged links to previous drug importations.

After the arrests, further searches were made and it is expected that more arrests will take place in the coming weeks.

Inquiries have also been extended by the drugs unit to include the Criminal Assets Bureau and the Garda national fraud bureau as detectives probe the backgrounds of those suspected of being involved with the shipment, the biggest ever inland seizure of cocaine here.

Irish Independent

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