Two men to appear before court after Kinahan drug cartel hit by €1.7m cash raids at weekend
Detectives found €700,000 in a camper van after chasing a Dublin criminal during a series of raids linked to the Kinahan crime cartel.
The man, who is the chief suspect in a gangland murder, sped away after being spotted near a house which was being searched by gardaí.
The €700,000 haul from his camper van was part of a total of more than €1.7m belonging to the cartel which was seized following raids in Dublin and Wexford.
The west Dublin man is considered to be the crime gang's main bagman in Ireland.
The criminal has until recently been known to keep a relatively low profile.
However, he has been under surveillance in recent months after the Kinahan cartel's money launderer Glen Byrne (40) was jailed earlier this year.
The criminal arrested yesterday is the chief suspect in the 2011 murder of Thomas McDonagh (49) in Coolock. He attempted to evade arrest by speeding away from the house at Faugh Mills, Wexford.
Gardaí pursued the vehicle and stopped it after a short chase.
The driver was arrested and a search of the vehicle led to the money being recovered.
It followed similar seizures of €500,000 in the Clondalkin area of Dublin and Wexford, bringing the total value of cash seized to €1.7m.
The Wexford operation was carried out when armed gardaí swooped on two cars on the Clonard Road shortly before 11am.
Gardaí believe that the vacuum-packed cash was to be transported to the continent before making its way to the cartel's senior hierarchy in Dubai.
A Scottish national was also arrested as part of the operation while a third man, who is originally from Dublin but has been living in Wexford, was also detained.
Yesterday morning, a 39-year-old woman, who is in a relationship with one of the men, was arrested and questioned for a number of hours before being released without charge.
The cash seizure is considered by gardaí to be one of their most significant strikes against the Kinahan cartel since the outbreak of the Kinahans' feud with the Hutch crime clan, which has claimed 18 lives.
"The cash is the product of all their efforts - importing drugs, selling, collecting money, laundering money and then exporting it," said a senior source.
"It really is what hits them the hardest and shows how relentless gardaí are in their fight against the cartel."
Two men are expected to appear before Wexford District Court this morning charged in relation to the Garda raids and investigation.
Assistant Commissioner John O'Driscoll, who is head of Special Crime Operations, said: "Depriving organised crime groups of the proceedings of their criminal activity is a particular priority for the Garda Síochána."