herald

Thursday 5 December 2019

Gym in leafy suburb is raided in 'family' gang bust as two cars seized

The CAB raided five premises across the capital
The CAB raided five premises across the capital

The operations of one of the country's most prolific drug-trafficking gangs have moved to a leafy south Dublin suburb, with the Criminal Assets Bureau (CAB) probing whether it has invested huge amounts of cash in a gym.

The gym was one of five properties raided by the CAB in searches which kicked off at 5.30am yesterday in its latest drive against 'The Family' gang.

Its primary targets are convicted heroin dealer Brian Grendon (42), from Ballyfermot, whose gang is considered one of the most prolific drug networks in the country, along with one of Grendon's closest associates.

Firearms

"The investigation is focused on the ownership of property, including houses, and investment by an organised crime group into a gym in south Dublin," a garda spokesman said.

"Specialists examined expenditure on residential properties that may represent the proceeds of crime."

Investigators felt the need to draft in the heavily-armed Emergency Response Unit for yesterday's raids because of concerns about the gang's access to firearms.

While no guns were found, officers did seize an Audi Q5 SUV and a Toyota Hilux pick-up, as well as documentation in the latest in a series of dozens of raids against the gang in recent years as part of an investigation codenamed Operation Compact.

Two houses in Ballyfermot and Ballycullen, strongly linked to the gang, were also searched yesterday morning.

A solicitor's office and accountancy firm were also visited by specialist officers, backed up by the Customs' dog unit.

Pressure continues to grow on 'The Family' gang, which is also a main target for the Drugs and Organised Crime Bureau.

Heroin dealer Brian Grendon
Heroin dealer Brian Grendon

This led them to shut down a car sales business last November which was being used as a front for its drugs trafficking operations.

"The gang have used their drugs money to invest in other businesses. A lot of this was the car-sales sector but they have moved into gyms, shops and other businesses as well," a senior source told the Herald.

"The information is that they invested significant cash into the gym that was raided in this phase of the investigation."

The raids were the latest move by the CAB against 'The Family' since they seized a €67,000 Range Rover in Clondalkin earlier this month for VRT offences.

Brian Grendon along with his older brother Philip are classified as two of the main leaders of the mob, whose strongholds are in the Clondalkin and Ballyfermot areas.

Brian Grendon was jailed for six years in December 2002, for the possession of €1.9m of heroin in a Palmerstown pub in November 2001.

A seized Audi SUV
A seized Audi SUV

His older brother Philip (44) is due to released from a tough Spanish jail later this year after he was caught in a bizarre bust in August 2014.

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

Gang leaders have already been served with tax demands on the proceeds of crime for more than €1m.

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