Friday 14 December 2018

'It is bizarre' - armed gardaí discover €250k in mattress woman was sleeping on

€250,000 was stuffed into a mattress and was discovered during a raid by armed gardaí into a global drugs operation
€250,000 was stuffed into a mattress and was discovered during a raid by armed gardaí into a global drugs operation

Ken Foy and Robin Schiller

Armed gardaí who raided an apartment as part of an investigation into a global drugs and money-laundering operation discovered €250,000 in a mattress a woman was sleeping on.

Six people, including the 24-year-old woman, were arrested when officers from the Drugs and Organised Crime Bureau (DOCB) raided six properties yesterday morning.

Gardaí said the drug-dealing organisation is backed by the Kinahan cartel and has been trafficking cocaine into Australia and New Zealand and then laundering the money back to Ireland. A 28-year-old socialite from Ballymun is suspected of being the organiser of the sophisticated enterprise - but he was not among those arrested in yesterday's raids.

Instead it has emerged that the man - who is suspected of dealing cocaine to professionals in the capital's top social circles - was himself arrested a number of weeks ago in relation to the same international police probe.

Details of the socialite's top-secret arrest by DOCB officers were not released at the time but it is understood that a "considerable amount of documents" were seized from him.

"This drugs operation is suspected of being ongoing for at least three years and this individual is suspected of seeing a business opportunity on the other side of the world and going for it," a source told the Irish Independent.

"Cocaine is up to four times more expensive in Australia than in Ireland. The socialite has been on the Garda radar for years and he is closely connected to a north Dublin woman who is considered one of the capital's most veteran heroin dealers. He is pals with members of the legal profession but he is also closely connected to some very serious criminals.

"These include the likes of Eamon 'The Don' Dunne who took him under his wing before he was murdered in 2010."

Six of the socialite's associates were arrested in the dawn raids yesterday and at least three of those held had recently returned from Australia where they were suspected of drugs trafficking and money laundering.

They are aged between 24 and 31 and have barely any criminal convictions between them. The Australian Federal Police have been investigating the activities of the Kinahan cartel for almost a year. It is understood they have arrested a number of suspects in Australia and seized large amounts of cash.

Yesterday's arrests happened after detectives raided properties in Drumcondra, Artane, Swords and Finglas. The cash haul discovered in the mattress that the woman was sleeping on was uncovered in an apartment in Drumcondra.

"It is bizarre to think that she was sleeping on all that money, but she was," the source added.

Assistant Commissioner John O'Driscoll, of Special Crime Operations, said: "This is further evidence of the enhanced level of co-operation that An Garda Síochána, and Special Crime Operations in particular, have engaged in, in recent times, with a view to tackling the organised crime gangs that operate at an international level."

Irish Independent

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