City drugs gang hit for €1.2m as cars, jewellery and cash seized
Gardai have targeted one of the capital's deadliest drugs gangs in a series of raids across Dublin, seizing around €1.2m in cash, jewellery and high-end cars.
The gang - a heroin-dealing outfit known as 'The Family' - was targeted by officers investigating suspected money laundering.
A total of 46 vehicles - including luxury cars worth an estimated €1.1m - were seized in the operation which targeted the gang whose stronghold is the Clondalkin and Ronanstown areas of west Dublin.
Four "high-end" watches worth at least €35,000 were seized along with around €50,000 in cash. Also taken for inspection were "considerable amounts of documentation and electronic equipment".
A heroin-dealing gang known as 'The Family' are the target of the garda operation.
The garda raids began at 10am yesterday when Criminal Assets Bureau (CAB) officers, backed up by armed gardai from the Organised Crime and Emergency Response Units, raided the 20 locations including garages, car showrooms, and solicitor and accountancy offices.
The so-called 'Family' gang, has teamed up with a younger drugs mob who are mainly involved in cocaine distribution.
One of the chief targets of the younger gang in the co-ordinated raids across the capital is a vicious 30-year-old convicted crack cocaine dealer.
He is a suspect in the gun murder of Dean Johnson (21, inset) who was shot dead in a case of mistaken identity in August 2013.
However, the criminal is just one of around a dozen extremely serious criminals in the mob who gardai have been carrying out surveillance on for many months. Officers have made a number of serious drugs busts against the mob over the past year.
In the space of six weeks during the summer, officers seized €200,000 in cash and more than €500,000 worth of cocaine from the gang who distribute the drug across the country.
One of the main raids yesterday morning happened at a luxury car dealership in Dublin city centre. The Herald has learned this business is closely linked to a 30-year-old south inner city criminal who previously served a three-year jail sentence for possession of stolen property which was taken in a tiger kidnapping robbery.
This criminal is suspected of involvement in major organised criminality in the city and is closely linked to the Kinahan cartel.
Our photos show a team of CAB members as they checked and recorded the details and engine numbers of the high-end models from BMW, Audi, VW, Range Rover, Vauxhall and Opel among others.
Staff were asked details about the cars and the CAB officials were given the keys to each so that the bonnets and boots could be lifted and the vehicles searched and checked.
Some of the cars were second-hand models from recent years, while others had UK registration plates and had recently been imported.
At one point a young man, who had been conspicuously walking back and forth and looking into the forecourt, was stopped, searched and questioned by gardai.
A number of car transporters arrived at the scene at around 3pm and started removing the luxury cars in twos.
Officers also carried out a similar operation at industrial lock-ups in south Dublin and seized vehicles at the premises.
It is believed all the vehicles seized yesterday will be brought to the Curragh Camp where gardai previously stored cars seized from the Kinahan cartel during raids earlier this year.
One of the most significant operations against the gang targeted yesterday happened last December.
It led to a 36-year-old Ronanstown man being jailed for four years at Dublin Circuit Court last week for transporting €400,000 worth of heroin in his car while accompanied by his one-year-old daughter.
The gang has close links to the Kinahan cartel who are leading Dublin's deadly gangland feud which has already claimed 10 lives.
Like most gangs in the country, the west Dublin mob are being supplied by the cartel.
The Clondalkin-based gang is led by a young criminal and have become one of the biggest distributors of drugs in the country. Senior members of the criminal group were close associates of Jason 'Jay' Carroll (39), who was shot dead in August 2013. Carroll was suspected of being a money launderer for the Kinahan cartel.
Sources have revealed his associates have since taken over the Clondalkin patch once controlled by Carroll, and that the gang source drugs from the cartel as well as laundering the Kinahans' proceeds of crime.
The mob are also suspected of working in co-operation with the deadly Derek 'Dee Dee' O'Driscoll gang whose stronghold is in the Ballyfermot area.