Gang boss hit with €1.5m tax bill as CAB closes in
Gardai are closing the net on members of one of the biggest organised crime gangs in the State.
The crackdown is being led by the Criminal Assets Bureau (CAB), which has been targeting leading gangland figures for the past two years.
The bureau has now served a tax bill for €1.5m on the gang's most prominent member, who is from the northside of Dublin.
He is kept under regular garda surveillance and makes frequent trips to Spain where he has a network of contacts supplying drugs to his gang.
He and another senior gang member were blamed by the Real IRA for ordering the murder of the dissident republican leader Alan Ryan in September 2012 and he has been warned that his life is under threat.
The gangster, who is the current "Mr Big" in crime circles, has no convictions for serious offences but is suspected of being heavily involved in drug trafficking and tiger kidnappings.
The CAB has been building up a file on the target with the help of garda specialist units and has already seized a high-powered car from him.
He and his main henchman, from the East Wall area of the capital, have been stopped and searched by police on both sides of the Border and the bureau seized €50,000 from a relative of the henchman.
Although he also has few criminal convictions, the henchman is regarded as a dangerous thug, who came up through the ranks of the gang because of the disappearance of others.
Another key member of the gang in the past was Christopher "Git" Zambra, who died in a suburban garden last month after he was shot.
Zambra, who was known as a major drug trafficker, had fallen foul of several criminals in recent months.
He had also been on the bureau list of targets and was likely to have been served with a substantial bill later in the year.
Weeks before his murder, Zambra lost possession of a large amount of cash. Some of that money was believed to belong to "Mr Big".
Also targeted by the bureau is 48-year-old Paschal Kelly, originally from Dublin's northside but more recently living in Co Cavan.
Kelly is on the run and earlier this year was described by an officer from the bureau in the High Court as playing a leading role in an organised criminal gang.
The High Court ruled that Kelly should forfeit a bungalow on three-quarters of an acre in Ballyjamesduff, Co Cavan, as it had been bought with the proceeds of crime.
Kelly will also lose a 4x4 vehicle, €11,000 from the sale of another vehicle and around €3,000 in cash, which had been seized from the house.