An under-the-radar businessman nicknamed 'the Plasterer' has been busted by detectives investigating the drugs trafficking network of crimelord George 'The Penguin' Mitchell.
The man, in his 50s, remained in garda custody last night after officers seized €300,000 in cash at his home on the capital's northside on Tuesday night.
"This man is not well-known to gardai but is suspected of being involved for years in the Penguin's money-laundering schemes - moving tens of millions of euro on that organisation's behalf," a senior source told the Herald last night.
"He is a plasterer by trade and on the outside seems to be a completely respectable businessman who has done very well for himself.
"But the truth is very different and he had been under surveillance for a number of months before he was arrested."
Gardai yesterday announced details of the bust, with sources saying the money was to be taken out of the country.
"At approximately 6pm on Tuesday, personnel attached to the Garda National Drugs and Organised Crime Bureau (GNDOCB) intercepted a vehicle on Collins Avenue, Dublin 9, and in the course of a search, seized a sum of cash believed to be in the region of €400,000," a spokesman said.
"Two men (aged 53 and 29 years) were subsequently arrested on suspicion of having committed organised crime-related offences and are currently detained at Raheny and Clontarf Garda Stations, pursuant to organised crime-related legislation.
"Additional searches were undertaken at premises in counties Dublin and Meath with assistance provided by the Garda Dog Unit resulting in another seizure of cash, believed to be in the region of €300,000.
"A quantity of what is believed to be controlled drugs, including cocaine and MDMA tablets, with an estimated street value of €30,000, was also seized.
"A male, aged 22 years, was subsequently arrested on suspicion of involvement in drug trafficking-related offences and is currently detained at Ballymun Garda Station, pursuant to drug trafficking-related legislation," the garda spokesman said.
The target of the operation was the drugs syndicate led by George 'The Penguin' Mitchell (68), who is one of the most notorious crime bosses in the history of the State.
Mitchell is suspected of becoming a millionaire from his involvement in drugs trafficking, from the early 1990s to the present day.
He has connections to the Kinahan cartel but also had links to Gerry 'The Monk' Hutch.
After the Regency Hotel bloodbath, it is understood that he made it clear to the Kinahan faction that he did not want to be dragged into the bloody feud which has claimed 18 lives.
It is understood that 'The Penguin' has been based between Holland, Germany and Spain for a number of years and is suspected of organising huge shipments of drugs.
Back in the 1980s he had links to major criminals such as John Gilligan and slain Martin 'The General' Cahill.
The Penguin's son-in-law Derek 'Maradona' Dunne, who was one of Ireland's most notorious underworld figures, was shot dead in a row at his home in Amsterdam in 2000 - just one of a number of close associates to be murdered.
But 'The Penguin', who fled Ireland in the wake of a garda crackdown on the gangland underworld after the murder of Veronica Guerin in 1996, has never been targeted in a shooting.
He left for Amsterdam where he had built up relationships with drug suppliers.