CARTEL boss Daniel Kinahan faces being murdered by his own men as a result of the crisis the gang finds itself in.
A senior source said it was “likely” that detectives would formally inform him of credible threats on his life if he returned to Ireland.
He would be served with a Garda Information Message (GIM), an official document in which officers give formal notice that they are aware of a possible threat on a target’s life or safety.
The revelation comes after 18 months of significant Garda operations that have seen €4m in cash, €55m in drugs and almost 40 firearms seized from the State’s biggest crime gang.
Sources said that while Kinahan is in exile in Dubai, immune from gardai and his gangland rivals, more than 30 cartel associates have been charged with serious offences.
The cartel is in the midst of its most serious crisis, with gardai believing that the “mob is turning in on itself”, as many foot soldiers blame Daniel Kinahan for the organisation’s woes.
“The view from the street is that it’s fine and dandy for Daniel as he sips pina coladas or whatever in Dubai while the people on the ground are getting blitzed by gardai,” a senior source said.
“The feeling is that he’s arrogant and has broken the golden rule of organised crime, just like John Gilligan did before him, by thumbing his nose at the State.
“Gilligan’s crew did this when they murdered Veronica Guerin and Daniel’s cartel did this a brutal feud on our streets.
“The level of distrust within that organisation is astounding, and people are turning on each other and blaming Daniel, who is being increasingly viewed by his associates as a spoilt brat and a daddy’s boy.
“We have seen this happen before with organised crime gang's here.
“Look what happened to Martin ‘Marlo’ Hyland and Eamon ‘The Don’ Dunne – they were killed by their own when the heat from the gardai got too much.
“But the operation against the cartel is on such a massive scale that those previous investigations seem very small in comparison.
“The belief is that, like Hyland and Dunne, Daniel Kinahan will eventually be murdered by his own.”
The drive against the cartel is being led by the Garda National Drugs and Organised Crime Bureau (DOCB).
Sources have revealed that in a massive, multi-layered attack on a crime organisation, gardai would expect operations to have a success rate of around 10pc.
This would be the percentage of targets who end up being charged before the courts, or the amount of drugs and weapons seized.
However, in their detailed investigation, it is estimated that gardai have had a 50pc success rate over the past 15 months.
“What is noticeable about the DOCB’s investigation against the cartel is that it’s not just low-level guys who are being caught. The people being caught are often of a higher quality of personnel within the organised crime grouping,” the source said.
“To have a 50pc success rate means other criminal groupings don’t want to do business with them. They’re seeing the seizures, they’re seeing the people being brought before the courts and this is clearly very bad for business.”
The situation for the cartelis further complicated by the fact that other criminal groupings now see a weakness in its operations and are attempting to move in on its turf.
During the summer, the DOCB foiled a hit on a notorious south inner city dealer who had tried to set up an independent drug-dealing network in the cartel’s stronghold of Crumlin.
“It would be unthinkable for anyone to have tried that a couple of years ago,” the source said, “but what’s happening is that the tension within the organisation means individuals are going into smaller and smaller cells and becoming less effective.
“This means other crime groupings are seeing the opportunity and moving in, as there’s a feeling that the cartel business is breaking apart.”
Gardai are aware that many key figures in the organisation have moved to distance themselves from Daniel Kinahan. “He might still be calling the shots from Dubai, but there’s no doubt that if his dad, Christy, could turn back the clock on all that has happened since Daniel took over, he would,” the source said.
“Everyone knows that murder is bad for business, and the cartel embarked on murder on a mass scale.
“Christy Kinahan is looking at his empire being destroyed here. He should be heading for happy retirement, but Daniel’s leadership has meant that he can’t.”
Gardai also believe that the relentless drive against the cartel has affected the vast international element of its business.
“All these arrests, seizures and murders in Ireland have the effect that the Kinahan cartel are losing face on an international level,” the source said.
“Ireland is supposed to be their power base, but they’re in complete crisis here and turning on each other.”