Monday 5 December 2016

Gang's €1m car fleet is now under armed guard at military base

Paul Williams

Published 29/03/2016 | 06:25

Some of the high-end vehicles seized during the garda raids
Some of the high-end vehicles seized during the garda raids

A fleet of high-performance cars, some linked to criminal Liam Byrne, have been placed under armed guard at Ireland's largest military base.

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CAB seized the massive collection of 29 vehicles - which included Mercedes, BMW, Golf GTI, Lexus and Landcruiser models - as part of an investigation into the Kinahan cartel.

The cars, along with six high-powered motorbikes, are being stored in a compound at the Defence Forces Training Centre (DFTC) in the Curragh Camp.

Target

Gardai believe Liam Byrne was one of the intended targets of the Regency Hotel attack last month. His brother David was murdered by gunmen carrying AK-47s, and two others were injured when a boxing weigh-in was ambushed in a military-style attack.

Now gardai are taking extra precautions to safeguard the high-powered cars.

It's understood that senior gardai made the decision to store the €1m fleet in the Curragh to prevent any attempts by the gang to either steal the vehicles or destroy them.

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 the elite Army Ranger Wing.

Sources have also revealed that CAB took added precaution of employing car manufacturers to re-chip 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 cars seized include an AMG Mercedes worth over €100,000 and the motorbikes are valued at between €30,000 and €40,000 each.

Gardai 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.

Bullet-proof

In the Crumlin home of Liam Byrne gardai discovered a panic room, a state-of-the-art security system, bullet-proof windows and blast-proof doors intended to protect him against attack.

The house was also fitted out with a jacuzzi, sauna and a full-size 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.

Meanwhile, the garda counter-offensive against the gangland violence is continuing to gather pace following the second seizure of AK-47 rifles last Thursday. Two men have been charged in connection with the find.

Last week's arms find in Co Meath came less than 24 hours after the murder of Noel Duggan, a close friend of Gerry 'The Monk' Hutch.

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