Sunday 18 February 2018

How the arrest of 'Mr Nobody' is setting off panic in Kinahan cartel

Detective Superintendent Tony Howard, of the Garda National Drugs and Organised Crime Bureau, addresses the media at Dublin Castle after the seizure of weapons belonging to the
Kinahan cartel Picture: PA
Detective Superintendent Tony Howard, of the Garda National Drugs and Organised Crime Bureau, addresses the media at Dublin Castle after the seizure of weapons belonging to the Kinahan cartel Picture: PA
Tom Brady

Tom Brady

For several months, gardaí have been carefully compiling a dossier to present criminal charges against members of the Kinahan crime organisation.

Several specialist units have been working closely together, and with police and other agencies overseas, to gather evidence allowing them to build up cases of money-laundering and either directing or facilitating organised crime in this country or in Spain.

This is being achieved separately from individual investigations into specific crimes, such as the feud murders or the seizures of guns and drugs.

Prospects of success on all fronts have been significantly boosted by the fallout from Tuesday's raid on a warehouse near Rathcoole, Co Dublin, and follow-up searches.

It has sent waves of panic through the Kinahan organisation. Apart from losing its arsenal, which is key to its plans to wipe out the rival Hutch faction and anybody else it deems to have connections, however tenuous, with that gang, the Garda operation has also put its main logistics and finance organiser firmly into the sights of the Garda Drugs and Organised Crime Bureau (DOCB).

Members of the bureau and allied units have long been aware of the major role allegedly played by the suspect in the Kinahan outfit.

His importance to the gang and his movements have been monitored on several trips overseas to meet other bosses in the international crime network. But as his nickname, 'Mr Nobody', suggests, he has never been seen in the forefront of the action and is content organising behind the scenes.

Until Tuesday, that is, when gardaí arrested three suspects including the man they believe to be the top Kinahan organiser, either in or near the warehouse used to store the gang's principal arsenal of weapons.

He has turned up at a number of public events with other associates of the gang but never at a scene of a crime.

Apart from the loss of the guns and ammunition and the arrests of four key suspects, one of whom was detained when a car was intercepted in Tallaght on the southside of the capital, the Kinahan gang has also been hit by the seizure of €440,000, either in cash at the warehouse or in bank accounts which have since been frozen.

Seizure

This all came within days of the discovery of a cannabis herb haul, with an estimated street value of €37.5m, in a joint Garda-Customs operation at Dublin port last Friday.

The more than 1,800kg seizure was one of the biggest finds of cannabis in the history of the State.

Gardaí reckon this find is also linked to the Kinahan organisation and its seizure represents another big financial blow to the cartel, who would have put several million euro up front to fund the purchase of the drugs.

The events of the past few days could mark a significant turning point in the fortunes of the Kinahan associates living in this country.

Gardaí have already made crucial inroads into the organisation through a series of arrests and seizures since the gang feud erupted in Dublin last February when the sole Kinahan gang victim, David Byrne, was shot dead at the Regency hotel on Dublin's northside.

But the latest successes could help create an implosion within the gang as it urgently carries out an internal inquiry as to how gardaí gathered the intelligence that led to the spate of seizures.

Gang bosses will be concerned that gardaí may have 'turned' somebody within the organisation and are using him as a 'mole' operating within the gang's network.

Gardaí obviously had highly accurate information about the warehouse and had it under surveillance for some time before storming the premises.

During that time, they will have recorded the movements of those entering and leaving the warehouse, adding to the intelligence they already possessed about the gang members.

Prior to Tuesday, gardaí had already saved at least 15 lives in the feud through armed interventions by the DOCB and disruptive tactics.

But despite that, officers said that targeting of members of the two feuding groups continued in the run-up to Christmas.

This meant that monitoring and patrolling in the key neighbourhoods remained in place.

By the end of last year, the bureau had seized 18 guns, including assault rifles, sub machine guns, revolvers and semi-automatic pistols.

At least half of those weapons are being linked to the feud.

Tuesday's seizure has more than doubled that haul overall and has made the Kinahan organisation feel vulnerable in its native city for the first time in almost a year.

Irish Independent

Promoted Links

Today's news headlines, directly to your inbox every morning.

Promoted Links

Editor's Choice

Also in Irish News