'Bloodbath' fears as cartel paranoia mounts after raids
Fears are growing of an all-out gangland bloodbath and an implosion within the Kinahan cartel after gardai seized over €37m of drugs, 15 weapons and more than €400,000 in cash and from bank accounts.
One suspect was arrested after a top-secret raid in which gardai recovered almost €300,000 cash in vacuum-packed bags in the attic of his house.
They also discovered more than €100,000 in a bank account linked to him.
This account has now been frozen as gardai continue to carry out an audit on exactly how much money they have seized in the massive operation.
Sources told the Herald that paranoia is now at "unprecedented levels" within the murderous crime outfit.
"There will be blood over this, make no mistake. What has happened here over the last few days has led to unprecedented levels of paranoia within the cartel. They are already looking for the rat in the camp," a senior source said last night.
These developments follow the recovery of 15 heavy-duty firearms at Greenogue Industrial Estate in west Dublin.
Three suspects were arrested in the raid, including a gangster nicknamed 'The Mechanic' and a 51-year-old criminal.
Gardai also raided a property late on Tuesday evening, where they made the significant cash find.
This male suspect aged in his 30s - the fourth arrest in the case - was released without charge yesterday evening.
Three other men remained in garda custody last night in separate west Dublin garda stations in relation to the bust.
These included a 51-year-old who had been residing in Celbridge, Co Kildare, and is considered a major facilitator for the international crime cartel.
All three suspects - aged 51, 44 and 32 - were arrested in the dramatic firearms swoop on Tuesday morning.
Sources have revealed that the 32-year-old man, from Clondalkin, was caught "red-handed" in the lock-up, while his two older associates sat in a van nearby.
This suspect was previously linked to the mob led by deceased gangster Karl Breen, who died in February 2015 from a suspected overdose.
"The 32-year-old was very much the gilly of the operation and is very likely to face charges," a source said.
His older associates, especially the 51-year-old, are considered far more serious players in the cartel's deadly operations.
"It is amazing that this individual even put himself in a position to be arrested near such a weapon's haul," a senior source said last night.
The Celbridge-based criminal is suspected of being one of the cartel's key members and has travelled abroad to meet senior Kinahan figures over the past few years, according to sources.
Originally from Tallaght, he has barely any previous convictions and is considered a right-hand man of exiled cartel overlord Christy Kinahan Snr (59) who is believed to be based in Dubai.
Gardai said that he has a very low profile in the criminal underworld and has not been involved directly in any of the attacks that have led to 11 murders in the brutal Kinahan/Hutch feud.
However, he is regarded as a very significant player in the cartel "behind the scenes".
One officer said: "He is one of the most important, if not the most important, Kinahan figure based in this country."
Gardai say that the huge successes against the cartel in recent days could lead to the mob imploding from within.
"This has happened with gangs both here and internationally when police forces make massive in-roads into gangs," a senior source said.
"These fellas turn on each other as paranoia sets in and the whole thing implodes. The best example we have seen in our criminal history is how the gang led by Martin 'Marlo' Hyland fell apart in the months before he was murdered by his own people in December 2006.
"The expectation is that this is what is going to happen here as the Kinahan mob look to root out the garda informers in their midst," the source added.
Apart from this week's gun and cash seizure, the cartel was dealt a major blow last Friday when gardai seized over €37m of drugs from the organisation.
In total, 1,873kg of cannabis herb was recovered, following a lengthy, intelligence-led operation.
The drugs, which were seized shortly after 2pm, have an estimated street value of €37.5m.
The drugs were sourced by the Kinahan cartel and originated in South Africa. The massive cannabis haul was hidden in mechanical tractor parts when it was recovered.