herald

Sunday 19 May 2019

Gardai seize €300k of drugs from veteran mobsters 'The Family'

Assistant Commissioner John O’Driscoll targets disruption
Assistant Commissioner John O’Driscoll targets disruption

Detectives have seized almost €300,000 of drugs and arrested a 48-year-old man in their latest operation targeting a veteran crime gang known as "The Family".

Gardai gave details of Monday night's operation in Ballyfermot which led to the suspect being questioned in the local garda station under anti-drugs legislation.

Officers from the Drugs and Organised Crime Bureau (DOCB) seized two kilos of heroin with a street value of €280,000, as well as €12,000 of cocaine.

Supply

Assistant Commissioner of Special Crime Operations John O'Driscoll said: "An Garda Siochana is committed to disrupting the activities of organised criminals supplying drugs to our communities.

"This seizure of a substantial quantity of heroin and cocaine is significant in disrupting this supply."

Monday night's seizure is one of the most significant against the long-running gang since gardai seized 10 high-end cars worth €700,000 last June.

The Criminal Assets Bureau (CAB) was involved in the dawn searches on that occasion, in which eight Range Rovers and two BMWs were confiscated.

The leader of "The Family" is a 43-year-old career criminal from Clondalkin who previously served a six-year jail sentence for possessing almost €2m of heroin, following a massive garda investigation.

During that case, a senior detective gave evidence that the gang the mobster led "had in the past used fatal shootings of anyone who compromised their business".

Sources say the mob's stronghold is in the Ballyfermot, Clondalkin and Tallaght areas and its speciality "product" is heroin.

Dangerous

However, the gang has a lso made a serious push to move into the cocaine market.

It is understood that "The Family" has been flooding Dublin with heroin and other drugs for almost two decades.

It has built up allegiances with a number of other dangerous drugs gangs, including two other mobs which operate in the Ballyfermot area.

In June 2015, a 44-year-old associate of one of the Ballyfermot mobs was jailed for seven years in Spain after he was caught in a bizarre bust in August 2013.

Spanish police arrested him after he threw one of two suitcases containing €3.8m of cocaine from a hotel window in a paranoid fit.

One of the garda's biggest ever investigations against "The Family" happened in February 2015, when over €3m of drugs, three sub-machine guns, two pistols and ammunition were seized in a raid in Ballyfermot.

The largest consignment of drugs - 18kg of heroin with a street value of €2.69m - had been stored in plain sight in the premises, which an arrested man had been using for car repairs.

He was later jailed for five years at Dublin Circuit Court.

Gardai have mounted numerous special investigations against the crew, including Operation Jumbo in 2002.

The traffickers, who have been targeted by the CAB in the past, are described as "a highly unusual but very effective crew" and some even work every day at tough blue-collar jobs.

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