herald

Saturday 10 December 2016

Kinahan mobster parties with Irish fans in bordeaux

David Byrne was murdered at the Regency Hotel
David Byrne was murdered at the Regency Hotel

A senior member of the Kinahan cartel has flown out to France to support Ireland - and to go on the beer with Irish fans.

The mobster, who is a close associate of Regency hotel murder victim David Byrne, was spotted drinking in central Bordeaux over the weekend.

He mingled with hundreds of Irish supporters partying in the streets at the time, who were unaware of the dangerous mobster's identity.

The individual, who is in his 30s and is linked to six recent gangland hits, is a massive soccer fan.

Dangerous

One witness said: "He was standing there in the centre of Bordeaux, drinking away without a care in the world.

"It was terrifying to think that someone so dangerous could be there in the middle of all these Irish fans having a good time."

It is not clear if he travelled to the stadium for the game.

Gardai have not received information about his presence in France, but sources said they would not be surprised if he travelled over.

The Crumlin criminal is under threat from the rival Hutch gang as part of a feud that has already claimed the lives of seven people since September 2014.

Meanwhile, gardai believe they prevented a possible bloodbath in a crowded Dublin pub when they arrested two key lieutenants of the Kinahan cartel on Saturday. Gardai fear any attack could have seen the deaths of innocent football fans. Armed members of the Emergency Response Unit and Drugs and Organised Crime Bureau swooped on two cars and arrested the pair at around 3pm. A Glock 9mm handgun and ammunition was found in one of the cars.

Senior officers fear that a murder was imminent. Because the pair were on the move during the Euro 2016 clash between Ireland and Belgium they believe a member of the Hutch faction was to be targeted in a pub.

With most pubs full during the game it is possible that innocent people could well have been hit by stray gunfire.

One of the cars stopped on Saturday was being driven on the Naas dual carriageway shortly before 3pm. It was in this car the gun and bullets were found, and the driver was arrested. Shortly afterwards a second car was stopped not far away on the Long Mile Road and the male driver arrested. It is understood one of the cars was an armour-plated VW Golf.

Both men are being detained under the provisions of section 30 of the Offences Against the State Act 1939.

One of the men arrested is a Crumlin criminal with very close links to Sean McGovern, who was shot and injured in the Regency Hotel shooting.

The arrested man was linked to a drug production operation a number of years ago, but escaped conviction.

Attention

The second man arrested is a 31-year-old, also from Crumlin, who has convictions over a brutal pub brawl and handling stolen property.

He was strongly linked to David Byrne.

The arrests were made as part of an intelligence-led operation with a focus on dismantling the Kinahan drugs empire. Since the current spate of killings the gang has drawn a lot of attention from gardai who are now cracking down on their global network.

A seizure of €350,000 in vacuum-packed bags on the Ml motorway earlier this week is suspected of being mob money collected over the past few weeks - and destined for Christy Kinahan Snr.

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