One of the capital’s most notorious criminals is facing an extra seven years in jail after he was sentenced yesterday for robbing a cash-in-transit box containing €40,000 as well as separate firearms offences.
Leon Griffin (32) was once considered “a significant foot soldier” for the Kinahan cartel in the south inner city and a friend of convicted murderer ‘Fat’ Freddie Thompson. However his volatile behaviour and battles with drug addiction have led to a lack of trust in him among senior criminals.
Sources said today that detectives believe that the gun and ammunition that Griffin was caught with in a south inner city flat on February 23, 2020, was to be used in a gangland hit.
Griffin pleaded guilty to the possession of a handgun and 17 rounds of ammunition after armed gardaí carried out an early morning raid of a property on Ross Road which is close to the criminal’s own home in the Iveagh Trust flats.
He was arrested at the scene after the gun and ammunition were found behind furniture in a bedroom of the property.
Griffin’s DNA later matched him to the deadly haul and he was charged.
The firearms seizure happened just over two months after Griffin was involved in a cash-in-transit robbery in which it is suspected he was armed with a handgun to target G4S security staff when they were delivering cash to an AIB ATM at 5.20am on December 10, 2019, in the Cornmarket area of the city.
He escaped with a cash box containing €40,000 but was quickly identified as a suspect from CCTV and was arrested by Kevin Street detectives less than a fortnight later.
Yesterday at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court, Griffin was given an eight year jail sentence with the final 12 months suspended for the cash box robbery offence in which evidence was given by Detective Brian Heaney.
He was handed a sentence of five years and eight months for the firearms offence which is to run concurrently with the robbery sentence.
Sources have described Griffin as a “thug and enforcer” who is one of the biggest gangland targets for gardaí in the capital.
“One thing about this criminal is that he usually commits most of his crimes in a close radius to his home,” a source said today.
When not in jail, Griffin was regularly spotted in the south-inner city driving a sulky but during one of his many times being locked up, he carried out a jail house assault on a Hutch family member on the orders of the Kinahan cartel.
Griffin and a close associate targeted convicted killer Derek 'Del Boy' Hutch, a nephew of Gerry 'The Monk’ Hutch, in Mountjoy Prison in October 2015.
'Del Boy' escaped serious injury and he was later moved to a separate prison.
He was also involved in a savage assault on high-profile criminal Wayne Bradley in Mountjoy Prison in December 2014 that resulted in Bradley needing three weeks of hospital treatment.
Griffin is currently serving a three-year jail sentence which was imposed in March of last year for a high-speed chase in 2019 during which he endangered numerous road users and crashed into a family in another car.
Gardaí were alerted to Griffin when he suddenly pulled out of traffic and drove off at speed through red lights on the wrong side of the road in Dublin city centre.
The court heard that during the initial stages of the pursuit Griffin drove onto the wrong side of the road, accelerated hard through a red light and almost collided with oncoming traffic.
Gardaí gave chase as Griffin drove recklessly through the city centre causing other motorists to swerve out of his way. He almost collided with a traffic island and broke two sets of red lights at pedestrian crossings.
He then crashed into a car on Thomas Street which was occupied by two adults and three children and the chase only ended when Griffin drove his car into a Dublin city bike stand.