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€100k cash seized and three held in city bust on Kinahan cartel

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Liam Brannigan was jailed last week

Liam Brannigan was jailed last week

Some of the cartel cash seized this week

Some of the cartel cash seized this week

Liam Brannigan was jailed last week

Detectives seized over €100,000 in cash in their latest operation against the Kinahan cartel after they intercepted two vehicles on the capital's Naas Road on Tuesday.

The primary target of the operation was a 41-year-old Drimnagh man who, despite having barely any criminal convictions, is suspected of becoming a key player for the cartel in recent months.

The Herald can also reveal that he is a close associate of cartel kingpin Liam Byrne and his brother David, who was murdered in the Regency Hotel gun attack in 2016.

Two women aged 38 and 29 were also arrested in the Garda National Drugs and Organised Crime Bureau (GNDOCB) surveillance probe.

Seizure

All three were still being questioned last night at Clondalkin, Ballyfermot and Ronanstown Garda stations, where they were being held under money laundering legislation.

Gardai announced details of the cash seizure saying it was part of "an ongoing intelligence-led investigation targeting serious and organised crime" and that the DCOB were supported by a special crime task force.

"Investigating officers have undertaken a number of related searches, in the Dublin area and a further quantity of cash was recovered," a garda spokesman said.

"The total value of cash seized in this operation is estimated to be in excess of €100,000."

Tuesday's major cash seizure is the second large cash bust in the space of eight days by the DOCB.

In a completely separate investigation, on Monday night of last week the bureau seized €400,000 which was allegedly owned by an Eastern European crime gang when they intercepted a suspected cash hand-over on the N25, near Rosslare, Co Wexford.

Two arrests were made on that occasion and gardai believe the seized money was to be driven to Rosslare Europort and then on to continental Europe.

In total so far this year, the DOCB have seized over €1 million in cash from crime gangs.

Tuesday's cash seizure is just the latest success as gardai continue to dismantle the Kinahan cartel over four years after the Regency Hotel bloodbath and the unsolved murder of key cartel member David Byrne by the Hutch mob.

In a hugely significant development last week, senior cartel mobster Liam Brannigan (37) was convicted of conspiring to murder a Hutch associate as part of the deadly gangland feud which claimed 18 lives.

Brannigan was tasked with organising the murder of Gary Hanley and was at the "centre of the wheel" of the plot before it was foiled following a lengthy Garda surveillance operation.

He became the fifth gang member to be convicted in relation to the Hanley plot but was considered the most senior of the murder gang.

The jailing of Brannigan and the life sentence imposed on his first cousin 'Fat' Freddie Thompson in a separate murder case has led to the streets of the south inner city becoming a "lot calmer and safer" in recent times, according to local gardai.

Thompson was convicted of the 2016 feud-related murder of David 'Daithi' Douglas and last month the Herald revealed how the suspected gunman in that case had been arrested by police in Manchester on foot of a European Arrest Warrant after three years on the run.

The suspect has still not consented to being extradited back here from the UK.

Like the three other men prosecuted for the murder, he is expected to be tried at the Special Criminal Court.