herald

Saturday 19 October 2019

Cartel prey on people they exploit to hide stash

Arthritis sufferer Alex Bravo was caught with €30k of cannabis
Arthritis sufferer Alex Bravo was caught with €30k of cannabis

Gardai are monitoring a drugs trafficker linked to the Kinahan cartel who they suspect is using vulnerable people to store drugs for him.

The gangster, aged in his mid-30s, has so far managed to avoid being busted by officers who have seized drugs from a number of people he has been exploiting.

"These individuals are people who have issues such as dependency on alcohol or drugs," a source told the Herald.

"In other cases, these are people who are suffering from mental health issues or physical disabilities.

"The trafficker has been on the garda radar for a number of years now, but he has managed to evade being caught in recent times."

However, the north inner city criminal was previously busted with a large amount of cannabis when he was in his early 20s after an operation by Mountjoy gardai.

He was later jailed for five years and is understood to have continued his involvement in serious cannabis trafficking following his release from prison.

Detectives believe he was the supplier of more than €30,000 worth of cannabis to an arthritis sufferer who was using the drug to treat his pain.

Alex Bravo (60) was given a suspended two-and-a-half-year jail term at Dublin Circuit Court last week after he pleaded guilty to possessing more than five kilos of cannabis, valued at €31,460, for sale or supply.

Gardai searched Bravo's city centre home on August 3 last year after receiving information that drugs were being held there for a gang.

Bravo told gardai he used cannabis to lessen the pain from his arthritis.

The court heard he was microdosing, using two-tenths of a gramme of cannabis oil.

His lawyers told the court the purpose of this was to manage the pain, not to get high.

Afraid

The criminals supplying Bravo with the cannabis asked him to store the drugs that were found in his flat on Sherrard Street and he was too afraid to say no, the court was told.

"Bravo is not the only vulner- able individual to end up before the courts because of the trafficker, who has managed to keep under the radar for a long time now," the source said.

"Gardai are closely monitoring him and are aware of how he is managing to keep the drugs he controls away from him, but he has avoided being caught so far.

"Investigations into this individual will continue as gardai are aware he has links to bigger operations such as the Kinahan cartel."

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