herald

Saturday 16 December 2017

Former minister's son arrested in probe into huge cartel drugs bust

Assistant Commissioner John O’Driscoll wants resources
Assistant Commissioner John O’Driscoll wants resources

The son of a former government minister has been arrested by gardai investigating a multimillion euro drugs bust linked to the Kinahan cartel.

The north Dublin man, who is in his early 40s, was arrested by the force's elite Drugs and Organised Crime Bureau (DOCB) as part of a major probe into the activities of the notorious mob.

He was still being held in custody last night at Finglas Garda Station where he was questioned about his suspected role in the importation of vast amounts of drugs for the cartel.

The university-educated company director is suspected of setting up a Leinster-based "front company" for the cartel.

"This company is suspected of being set up as a cover for facilitating the importation of drugs by the cartel," a senior source revealed last night.

The massive drugs seizure, which gardai have been investigating for a number of months, has already seen three men charged before the courts and more arrests are expected.

The minister's son has no previous convictions but became a suspect in the investigation after a lengthy intelligence gathering exercise by specialist detectives.

Crackdown

His father was a high-profile and controversial politician who served in the Dail for a number of years.

The former minister is not being investigated for links to the Kinahan cartel or the massive drugs bust.

"This highly significant arrest is just the latest in the crackdown by gardai against the cartel," a senior source said last night.

"This individual was not actually caught in possession of the drugs but is suspected of being central in the plot to bring the haul into the country," the source added.

Just hours after the company director was arrested, Assistant Commissioner John O'Driscoll outlined at a media briefing some of the major successes gardai have had in their battle against organised crime in recent times.

Mr O'Driscoll said that, since March 2015, the DOCB had seized some 60 firearms along with 2,800 rounds of ammunition, €3.4m in cash and drugs valued at €100m.

This year alone the bureau had seized three assault rifles, six semi-automatic pistols, 10 revolvers and two shotguns.

He also revealed that officers had saved the lives of 30 people since the deadly Hutch/Kinahan feud broke out.

It is expected that an additional 117 officers will be appointed to special crime operations.

Mr O'Driscoll referred to the recent double murder in Ballymun, which is not linked to the Hutch/Kinahan feud, as a reason why the force needs extra capacity to deal with the gangland threat.

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