Wednesday 13 December 2017

Gardaí use foreign networks to take fight to crime lords

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Tom Brady

Tom Brady

Gardaí are beefing up their intelligence gathering network and strengthening co-operation with other police forces as part of their crackdown on organised crime.

There will be more joint investigations between gardaí and outside police forces where the targeted criminal gangs have links outside the State.

Commissioner Nóirín O'Sullivan said efforts to make the sharing of intelligence more streamlined and co-ordinated had already paid dividends and played a role in the successes achieved in recent months.

It is also intended to make full use of garda links to Interpol and Europol and of the force's own network of liaison officers throughout the EU.

She recalled the deployment of members of La Guardia Civil here and gardaí in Spain last September, during joint investigations into the operations of the Kinahan crime cartel organisation in the two jurisdictions.

She forecasts similar joint inquiries being in the pipeline.

Ms O'Sullivan also said her officers were preparing for Brexit and intended to continue their close relationship with the PSNI on cross-Border issues and also with the security services in the UK.

A number of bilateral arrangements were already in place and a large body of law had been built up and they were determined that nothing in Brexit would affect that, she said.

Ms O'Sullivan was speaking at a media briefing on organised crime where she outlined the activities of the force since the murder of David Byrne at the Regency Hotel on the northside of Dublin on February 5 last year.

The anniversary of the shooting, which was the second in the bloody Kinahan-Hutch feud, is on Sunday.

Figures released by gardaí showed that drugs with a street value of over €44m have been seized in the first month of the year.

This compares with a financial total of €23m in all of 2016 and €42m since the formation of the Drugs and Organised Crime Bureau (DOCB) in March of the previous year.

In the past year, gardaí also seized €2.2m in cash, another €3.8m frozen in bank accounts and over €2m recovered in taxes.

A total of 456 firearms had been confiscated, including 36 "serious" weapons such as submachine guns and assault rifles, and 93 high value vehicles.

The Garda successes have dealt a series of heavy financial and operational blows to the Kinahan cartel - and created internal panic within the organisation, as gang leaders try to unearth the sources of the Garda intelligence that led to the seizures.

Officers warned the feuding gangs to "think twice" about seeking retribution.

Det Supt Tony Howard, of the DOCB, said that nobody should attempt to take the law into their own hands.

"Our role is to investigate these crimes and bring suspects before the courts," he said.

"It is then up to the judiciary to decide whether they are guilty.

"There should be no summary retribution and I would urge anybody looking in that direction to think twice."

Read more: 'We are targeting these lads before they become big players' - Brash new generation of gangsters targeted by CAB officers

Read more: Garda still trying to find answers as complex drugs feud rages on

Irish Independent

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