Monday 21 October 2019

DEA agents help arrest third Irish criminal in €220k Dutch drugs cash seizure

US Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) Agents simulate a raid in their Tactical Training Facility. Photo: File photo via Tim Sloan/AFP/Getty Images
US Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) Agents simulate a raid in their Tactical Training Facility. Photo: File photo via Tim Sloan/AFP/Getty Images

Ken Foy

American Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) agents worked with elite Dutch police and gardai in the arrest of criminal Cornelius Price’s right-hand man in a €220,000 drugs cash seizure in the Netherlands.

An English-born criminal  – raised in Balbriggan, north Co Dublin – became the third gang member to be arrested in Holland as part of the elaborate operation, the Herald is reporting.

All three suspects remain in custody in Holland as an examining magistrate in Rotterdam builds a case against the notorious trio.

A senior source revealed last night that the DEA was involved with gardai and the Dutch authorities in the major bust as the American agency has formed a new relationship with EU police agencies in an attempt to dismantle the Kinahan cartel and crime groups connected to it.

The Balbriggan-based criminal became the third man to be arrested in the money laundering case on Thursday last week as he attempted to leave Holland after the arrest of two of his key associates a fortnight earlier.

The busted criminal is a key member of the Cornelius Price organised crime gang and has been investigated for the 2014 feud murder of Benny Whitehouse in Balbriggan.

It is understood that he had been hiding out in Holland ever since two senior gang bosses, who are originally from Finglas, were busted with over €200,000 in cash on January 22, as part of a major operation by heavily armed members of the Dutch police force.

Dutch police have confirmed that the massive cash seizure was made in the town of Amstelveen which is located in the northern suburbs of Amsterdam.

“Police arrested two Irish people in Amstelveen suspected of laundering more than two tons of illegally obtained cash,” a Dutch police spokesman said in a statement provided to the Herald.

“The money was hidden in a secret room in an English truck.

“The Infrastructure Department of the National Unit started an investigation under the authority of the National Public Prosecutor’s Office after receiving information from the Irish authorities.

“This led to the arrest of two Irish brothers, aged 52 and 49. Both were stopped in a truck in Amstelveen. During research on the truck, more than €200,000 was found in a hidden space. The police assume that this money has a criminal origin. The money is confiscated.

“The two defendants have been brought before the examining magistrate in Rotterdam for two weeks in custody.”

After this massive bust, a close associate of the notorious brothers – who gardai believe was heavily involved in the busted cash seizure plot – went into hiding in Holland but when he surfaced last week and attempted to leave the country he was “intercepted and arrested”, according to a senior source.

He was understood to be being held in solitary confinement in a Dutch prison last night.

More than a fortnight before his arrest, elite police used a taser and cable ties to subdue the brothers after they entered the Netherlands to engage in a suspected huge drugs transaction with criminals based there.

The two Dublin brothers are members of the Traveller community and are considered the main suppliers of drugs into this ever-increasing market.

“This is a major result against two individuals who have long been suspected of major involvement in serious drugs trafficking here for over a decade,” a senior source told the Herald.

“They resisted arrest so they were tasered by before being tied together by police who then brought them into custody.

“These individuals have been a feeder group to other Traveller crime networks in terms of supplying large amounts of drugs, especially cocaine and cannabis.

“However, they have not just been dealing with the Traveller community and would easily be considered to be part of a crime organisation considered to be in the top 10 in Ireland,” the source explained.

Apart from a nationwide drug dealing operation, the arrested men are suspected of making up to €1m from cash-in-transit robberies in the capital between 2013 and 2016.

The mob is one of a number of criminal gangs working together in a multi-million euro international car-theft ring.

This involves prestigious vehicles being shipped out of Ireland after being stolen to order throughout the country.


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