Saturday 24 August 2019

Garda unit blocked 15 mob murder plots during bloody feud

Interventions by armed members of the Garda Drugs and Organised Crime Bureau have prevented a spate of fresh attacks by gunmen linked to the Kinahan crime cartel since David Byrne was shot dead last February. Photo: Collins
Interventions by armed members of the Garda Drugs and Organised Crime Bureau have prevented a spate of fresh attacks by gunmen linked to the Kinahan crime cartel since David Byrne was shot dead last February. Photo: Collins
Tom Brady

Tom Brady

Gardaí have saved at least 15 lives during the savage Kinahan-Hutch feud, despite the bloodshed of the past 10 months.

Interventions by armed members of the Garda Drugs and Organised Crime Bureau have prevented a spate of fresh attacks by gunmen linked to the Kinahan crime cartel since one of its members, David Byrne, was shot dead at the Regency Hotel on the northside of Dublin last February.

The one-sided feud has claimed 11 lives since it erupted in the Costa del Sol in Spain with the murder of Gary Hutch in September last year.

"As a result of either interceptions or disruptive tactics, we are satisfied we have prevented the deaths of at least 15 targeted figures," said one of the senior officers in the bureau, Det Supt Tony Howard.

"This has meant that monitoring and patrolling in the key neighbourhoods still remains and we have identified most of the main players."

The bureau has seized 18 guns, including assault rifles, sub-machine guns and semi-automatic pistols, and almost 1,200 rounds of ammunition. At least half of those weapons can be linked to the feud.

Read more: Elite gardaí to patrol city streets to prevent further bloodshed in Hutch-Kinahan feud

Gardaí point out that the feud is not a straightforward geographical crime fight with northside (Hutch gang) versus southside (Kinahan faction).

The Kinahan crew, who congregate in the south inner city if they are not overseas, has informants in the Hutch heartland in the north inner city with small local criminal units aligning themselves with the powerful cartel.

This has meant that associates and innocent members of the Hutch family cannot feel safe, even in their own neighbourhoods and communities. Last week, Noel Kirwan, a long-time friend of Gerry 'The Monk' Hutch, was gunned down in Clondalkin.

But since the bureau was formed through the amalgamation of the national drugs unit and the organised crime unit in March last year, officers have seized 39 firearms.

During that time the bureau has confiscated €2.1m in cash, suspected to be the proceeds of either money laundering or drug trafficking. In one incident on the M1 motorway, officers stopped a vehicle and seized €400,000 in cash. A file has been sent to the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions.

The bureau works closely with Customs in combating drugs and has to date seized hauls worth €22m. These include cannabis worth €8m, heroin and cocaine and 100,000 ecstasy tablets worth about €1m.

Irish Independent

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