Over €1m in cars and cash seized as CAB hits Kinahan
Property worth well over €1m and €100,000 in cash was seized in the massive garda operation targeting the Kinahan cartel.
At least 10 Rolex watches and other high-end jewellery items, 29 cars and SUVs as well as six motorbikes were also seized when gardai raided 12 homes and six businesses in a series of dawn raids yesterday.
Officers discovered a Jacuzzi and sauna room in the Crumlin home of Liam Byrne – the brother of Regency Hotel murder victim David Byrne – which was raided during the operation led by the Criminal Assets Bureau (CAB).
A massive supply of Bollinger Champagne was found in the same Raleigh Square property.
Armed officers also discovered a panic room, which is believed to have been used for secret gang meetings as well as a place for the gangster to hide in case his home was attacked.
Slain David (34) and his brother Liam (38) are key allies of the Kinahan cartel, which is headed up by their childhood friend Daniel Kinahan.
The 37-year-old son of drugs boss Christy Kinahan Snr was the target of the six-man hit squad that stormed the Regency and shot David Byrne.
The cars seized during yesterday’s operation included high-spec Mercedes, BMW, Golf GTI, Lexus and Landcruiser models while two of the six motorbikes seized are each worth in excess of €30,000.
Most of the vehicles were seized from the Active Car Sales business in the Bluebell Industrial Estate in west Dublin.
“These raids demonstrate beyond any doubt the huge money that these criminal figures are earning from their involvement in organised criminality,” a source said.
Also raided yesterday was a north inner city pub controlled by the Christy Kinahan gang.
The Herald previously revealed that the drugs mob have been “employing” a northside gangster, aged in his late 30s, to manage the pub.
“As well as being a business that can be used to launder money, this pub was a very handy place for meetings between gang members to take place and this was happening on a regular basis,” a source said.
Last night, a senior source revealed that the operation targeting the south Dublin gang began many months before the events that exploded in the Regency Hotel where David Byrne was killed.
“It is a very time consuming process that involves a lot of investigation and man-hours, as everything has to be right on the day if you are bringing matters like these to court,” said a senior source.
“This was not a reaction to the murder of Byrne, it was ongoing before that.”
All the vehicles are now at a secure location, understood to be in Co Kildare.
CAB has stripped them of their registration plates and recoded the vehicles so that none of the existing keys for them will work.
“Anyone who has a spare key and a mind to try and take a car back is wasting their time,” said the source.
Many of the homes raided yesterday are fitted out with state-of-the-art CCTV and some of the properties had bulletproof windows.
Yesterday, the Herald revealed that gardai seized a betting slip for a €38,000 bet on tonight’s Europa League clash between Liverpool and Man United. The odds on this slip were 7/4.
“Betting has been a well established way to launder money,” a source said last night.
Also seized were computers, and documentation relating to the property transactions.
Accountants’ and solicitors’ offices were also raided during the extensive operation.
The targeted mob are part of the Christy Kinahan crime cartel which have been involved in a deadly feud with the Hutch gang, which has led to three murders.
Part of Windmill Road and all of Raleigh Square were blocked off by armed gardai as the raids took place from 6am yesterday.
Members of the Special Detective Unit carrying MP7 machine guns manned the roadblocks as the searches were being conducted. The operation concluded shortly after 2pm.
Assistant Commissioner Derek Byrne said that gardai were very conscious of the recent displays of wealth by people associated with criminal gangs.
“Eighteen searches were carried out as part of an intelligence-led operation targeting organised crime gangs.
“So we have cash, vehicles, documentation and that requires to be put together to see how it is going to progress our investigations. They were seized in South Dublin,” he said.
More than sixty gardai were involved in the raids, including members of the Emergency Response Unit, the Drugs and Organised Crime Bureau, Special Branch, officers from Dublin South and North Central divisions, the Technical Bureau as well as Revenue officers.
No arrests were made and no firearms were recovered in the operation.