Wednesday 13 December 2017

Massive blow to gang as three machine guns and €250k of cocaine are seized

Gardai seized three machine guns, a handgun and almost €250,000 worth of cocaine in a major south city bust
Gardai seized three machine guns, a handgun and almost €250,000 worth of cocaine in a major south city bust

Ken Foy

One of the capital's most prolific drugs-trafficking gangs has been struck a massive blow after gardai seized three machine guns, a handgun and almost €250,000 worth of cocaine in a major south city bust.

The top secret operation started in the Clondalkin area when officers stopped a 40-year-old man and discovered €4,000 in cash on him at around 4pm on Monday.

That led to the search of a house in Ballyfermot where they found the massive drugs and weapons haul.

The suspect was arrested and local drugs squad detectives carried out a number of raids in both areas throughout yesterday.

Sources have revealed that the drugs and guns are controlled by a mob nicknamed 'The Family' who have been major targets for specialised gardai for years.

It is understood that 'The Family' has been flooding Dublin with drugs for almost two decades and have built up allegiances with a number of other dangerous gangs.

The bust on Monday was one of the biggest successes to date by gardai trying to shut the gang down.

It is understood that vital information was also gathered by gardai during yesterday's following-up searches.

"They will be hurting over Monday's seizure - they consider themselves smarter than other criminal groupings," a source said.

The leader of the mob is a 37-year-old career criminal from Clondalkin who was previously jailed for six years for possession of almost €2m worth of heroin.

He had been the subject of a major investigation by the Garda National Drugs Unit (GNDU) and international police agencies.

A court heard from a senior detective in that case that the dangerous gang "had in the past used fatal shootings of anyone who compromised their business".

CONVICTIONS

Last year, officers based in Ballyfermot were involved in the seizure of more than €1m worth of drugs from the crew who are considered one of the most "organised and long-established" in the country.

A 39-year-old key member of the gang is currently facing charges in Spain after allegedly throwing two suitcases of cocaine - valued at more than €3.8m - from a hotel window in Valencia last August.

Still in custody in Spain, the Dubliner previously appeared at Dublin Circuit Court in February 2012 when he was prosecuted under proceeds of crime legislation.

He has a number of very minor criminal convictions.

The 40-year-old suspect arrested on Monday was last night being questioned about the drugs and guns haul by officers in Clondalkin Garda Station.

He is considered a trusted associate of 'The Family' crew.

Like many of the gang's members, he has barely any previous criminal convictions but has been on the garda radar for years.

Sources say that the mob's strongholds are the Ballyfermot, Clondalkin and Tallaght areas and their speciality 'product' is heroin - but they have strongly moved into the cocaine market in recent years.

The gang is hugely feared in those communities and has been previously linked to a number of shootings.

Members are described as "a highly unusual but very effective crew" and some even work every day at tough blue collar jobs.

Gardai have mounted numerous special investigations against the gang including Operation Jumbo in 2002.

The traffickers have also been targeted by the Criminal Assets Bureau in the past.

kfoy@herald.ie

Online Editors

Promoted Links

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

Promoted Links

Editor's Choice

Also in Irish News