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Saturday 10 December 2016

Gang boss was selling €1m in drugs every two months

Tom Brady Security Editor

Published 11/07/2011 | 05:00

INTERNATIONAL crime boss Christy Kinahan was selling shipments of drugs worth €1m every two months, a secret file reveals.

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The file lays bare for the first time the extent of Kinahan's global network as he masterminded a worldwide operation involving drug trafficking and money laundering.

It was discovered by the garda national drugs unit in the form of a ledger seized by detectives from an associate of Kinahan's gang in a raid in Dublin's north inner city.

The ledger outlined details of shipments allegedly being organised by Kinahan, although the full extent of the financial profits made by the gang have yet to be uncovered.

Gardai are satisfied the drugs-distribution network was active for several years before it was smashed by an operation, codenamed 'Shovel', led by Spanish police and the gardai.

"This is only one ledger. We don't know yet how many of them existed but there is sufficient information here to indicate the size of the profits involved," a senior officer told the Irish Independent.

Kinahan -- who was allowed out on bail by a Spanish magistrate after being arrested in May last year during a spate of arrests there, in the UK and in Dublin -- was back behind bars last week. He was detained on a European arrest warrant issued by Belgium, where he was wanted to serve a four-year jail sentence for money laundering.

In the meantime, the national drugs unit is probing his alleged activities here.

It believes his dealings with Irish crime gangs were controlled by two "lieutenants", one of whom was arrested recently in Spain.

The second senior associate was detained by gardai for questioning last week and held in Blanchardstown station, Dublin, before being released without charge.

Gardai are also studying documentation showing that the gang set up a betting racket to launder €2.5m of the profits gleaned from drug trafficking by using unsuspecting bookmakers.

Bets were placed in bookmakers around the capital on horse races, greyhound races and football games. The gang's punters managed to restrict losses to less than €300,000. The punters did not place many substantial bets to ensure they did not arouse suspicions in the betting fraternity.

Laundering

Instead, they concentrated on volume, carrying out the laundering by selecting horses, dogs or teams regarded by bookies as hot favourites.

The short odds available meant that the profits from a winning bet were not huge, but for the punters they represented a big success as they got their money back plus winnings in "clean" money from the bookmakers.

Gardai are continuing to liaise closely with Spanish police as they build up a dossier on the gang's property portfolio, which included several luxurious villas, yachts, expensive cars, a pub, a hotel and a gymnasium.

Police elsewhere are following a property trail in the UK, Belgium, Cyprus, Dubai and South Africa.

Operation Shovel was set in train in May 2008 as a result of inquiries by the national drugs unit into the seizure of a tonne and a half of cannabis in a house in Clongorey, between Naas and Newbridge, Co Kildare.

Irish Independent

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