Monday 19 March 2018

Raids signify a new era of co-operation between forces

Police count wads of money seized at the gym
Police count wads of money seized at the gym
Tom Brady

Tom Brady

Gardaí are planning to use anti-gangland legislation to press criminal charges against key members of the Kinahan international crime cartel.

The level of co-operation between the Garda and La Guardia Civil marks a new era in a close relationship between the forces.

During the police raids, five premises and a yacht were searched as well as a Marbella gymnasium known to be used by associates of the Kinahan group.

Two hours after those raids, members of the specialist unit and officers from the Criminal Assets Bureau were among a 60-strong garda team, who raided six premises in Dublin, three in the south inner city and one each in Clondalkin, Lucan and the south county.

The main focus of the operation here was to gather evidence to build up cases of money laundering and either directing or facilitating organised crime in this country or in Spain.

Gardaí are confident that the raids will lead to arrests in the future as well as close examination of a number of foreign bank accounts and they will then prepare files for the DPP to determine if criminal charges should be brought against the targeted figures.

Spanish police and a garda seize a gun from a gym in Marbella
Spanish police and a garda seize a gun from a gym in Marbella

Det Supt Tony Howard, of the Drugs and Organised Crime Bureau, said gardaí had helped the Spanish police identify suspects in the Gary Hutch investigation and were also helping them interpret documentation while Spanish officers provided assistance here.

The decision to deploy members of the two forces together was taken after a series of meetings between senior officers here and in Spain over the past couple of months.

This is the first time that gardaí have actively participated with the Spanish in an operation since detectives from the former National Drugs Unit were based on the Costa del Sol after the launch of Operation Shovel to target the Kinahan organisation in 2010.

The direct involvement of the gardaí there for more than a year after the Shovel raids subsequently led to closer personal ties with the Spanish and this was crucial in the seizure of major drugs shipments linked to Spain and the Netherlands.

But yesterday's searches, codenamed Geraneo in Spain, has cemented that relationship and brought it to a new level.

Gardaí also have a liaison officer based permanently in Madrid. They have also been liaising with officers in other European countries, including Germany and the Netherlands, while also working with the authorities outside the EU.

Irish Independent

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