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Garda alert as Kinahan thugs could be on way back after 'Wig' tragedy

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The partner of Graham ‘The Wig’ Whelan was found dead

The partner of Graham ‘The Wig’ Whelan was found dead

The partner of Graham ‘The Wig’ Whelan was found dead

Gardaí are on alert that senior members of the Kinahan cartel may travel back to Ireland this week to pay their respects to senior mob henchman Graham 'The Wig' Whelan after his partner died in tragic circumstances.

The funeral of the woman, who was in her 30s, is expected to take place later in the week after her body was found at a property in south Dublin on Sunday morning.

Crumlin gardaí were called to the scene of the sudden death, which is not being treated as suspicious.

"A post-mortem is due to be carried out but this matter is being treated as a personal tragedy," a senior source told the Herald.

Despite being in a relationship with Whelan (37) for many years, the tragic mother of a number of young children was not considered to be involved in organised crime.

The same cannot be said of Whelan, who is said to be "heartbroken" over the tragic death of the woman who was originally from the south inner city.

Exile

"Whelan is one of the highest ranking members of the cartel not to be locked up or in exile abroad," a source said last night.

"While there is no specific intelligence of what gang members may return to pay their respects to 'The Wig', there is an expectation that some key players will come back for the funeral," the source added.

Sources say that Whelan deals directly with exiled cartel boss Daniel Kinahan, who is not expected to be back in Dublin this week as he fears being arrested by gardaí.

Whelan last hit the headlines in May of last year when he was arrested and later released without charge as part of a major money laundering investigation.

In total, 18 homes and businesses linked to Whelan were searched, including solicitors' firms, a car business and the mobster's own home.

Seven luxury Rolex watches were seized, along with two high-end SUVs, a 152 Nissan x-Trail and a 141 Land Rover Discovery.

A GPS tracker, designer clothing and documentation related to assets and finances were also recovered, along with mobile phones.

Originally from Clonard Road in Crumlin, Whelan was based mainly in Liverpool, Amsterdam and Ibiza for years, where he is suspected of being heavily involved in the cartel's operations.

However, in recent times he has been spending more time in Dublin and sources say that he was called to the property after the tragedy there on Sunday morning.

Whelan was close pals with cartel figure David Byrne, who was shot dead in the Regency bloodbath in February 2016.

Possession

He was also central to the drugs bust that led to the bitter Crumlin/Drimnagh feud breaking out in 2001.

In February of that year, 'The Wig' was jailed for six years for possession of IR£1.25m of ecstasy tablets and cocaine at the Holiday Inn on Pearse Street in Dublin a year earlier.

After being arrested by gardaí, Whelan told them he could do 10 years "standing on his head".

'The Wig' was arrested but later released without charge by gardaí investigating the feud gun murder of rival criminal Gary Bryan (31) in Walkinstown in September 2006.