Tuesday 21 November 2017

Gardai seize more drugs in January than in all of 2016 as Kinahan crackdown continues

Image from a garda briefing to mark one year since Regency hotel shooting
Image from a garda briefing to mark one year since Regency hotel shooting
Anti-gang laws could be used to dismantle Christy Kinahan’s cartel
Tom Brady

Tom Brady

Gardai have seized more drugs in January than in the previous 15 months.

The seizures were made as officers mounted an unprecedented crackdown on drug traffickers.

Most of the hauls confiscated by the gardai have been linked to the Kinahan crime cartel and stem from the intensive inquiries into the organisation's feud with the Hutch group.

This feud has so far claimed ten lives, senior officers confirmed today. Associates of the Kinahan gang have been blamed for nine of the murders.

Gardai revealed details of their seizures at a press briefing today as they prepared for the first anniversary of the murder of Kinahan gang member, David Byrne at the Regency hotel on the northside of Dublin on February 5.

The garda successes have dealt a series of heavy financial and operational blows to the cartel and created internal panic in the organisation as gang leaders try to find out 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 Drugs and Organised Crime Bureau, said that nobody should attempt to take the law into own their hands.

He said : "Our role is to investigate these crimes and bring suspects before the courts. It is then up to the judiciary to decide on their guilt.

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

Garda Commissioner Noirin O'Sullivan revealed that officers had seized drugs worth more than €44m in January, compared to over €23m last year and €44m since the formation of the Drugs and Organised Crime Bureau in March 2015.

The latest hauls included the seizure of cannabis herb worth €3m in Ashbourne yesterday.

Ms O'Sullivan also outlined the efforts being made to strength the already close co-operation between the Garda and the PSNI as well as other police forces and security agencies in the UK and mainland Europe.

She said last year had seen the deployment of members of La Guardia Civil here while gardai were in Spain for joint inquiries into the feuding gangs and this type of co-operation would continue into the future.

The methods of gathering and distributing intelligence had also been strengthened and this would be hugely beneficial both at home and in co-operation overseas.

Deputy Commissioner John Twomey said a total of 456 firearms had been seized, including 36 "serious" firearms such as sub machine guns and assault rifles while 2.2m had  been seized in cash with another 3.8m frozen in accounts and a further 2m recovered in taxes.

He said that more than 22,000 armed checkpoints had been set up under Operation Hybrid and these had resulted in lives being saved.

Online Editors

Promoted Links

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

Promoted Links

Editor's Choice

Also in Irish News