Police in Ireland this week seized more than 40 cars from a showroom and a number of garages as part of an investigation into organised crime in Dublin.
Along with 46 vehicles, the Gardaí Criminal Assets Bureau (CAB) confiscated cash, jewellery and electrical equipment worth a total of around €60,000. Police said armed officers were involved in a raid on one car dealership, which had four or five cars taken away by force.
In a statement, police said: “The searches involved a number of private residences along with a number of commercial premises associated with the motor trade.
“As result of this operation over 40 vehicles were seized along with significant amounts of cash (euro and sterling). In addition, jewellery and a number of watches have been seized along with considerable amounts of documentation and electronic equipment. Investigations are ongoing.”
Gardaí later said the operation was linked to the suspected laundering of drugs money through the high-end motor trade. According to reports from local media, two of the vehicles seized had bullet-proof doors, while another had bullet-proof windows. No arrests were made at the garages and dealerships targeted in the operation.
The Dublin raids follow a similar police swoop back in March, when some 29 vehicles were seized from a garage linked to the notorious crime gang boss Christy Kinahan, who runs his empire from Spain. This week’s operation reportedly centred on the activities of a drug dealer from a small town to the west of the capital.
The CAB believes the suspect has been laundering his ill-gotten gains through car dealerships, and has been using expensive vehicles such as Audis and BMWs to pay for large shipments of drugs. The alleged dealer, who is in his late 20s, is thought to have links to the Kinahan gang.
Up until the beginning of this year, few people in Ireland bar the police and crime journalists had heard of Christy Kinahan and his gang. That all changed when gangster David Byrne, 35, was shot dead at a weigh-in for a professional boxing match in February. Many suspected that the real target of the hit was Daniel Kinahan, Christy Kinahan’s son.
It is thought that a rival gang was seeking revenge for the murder of Gary Hutch in Spain the previous year. Byrne’s murder triggered off a high profile spat between the two gangs, bringing a considerable amount of unwelcome attention from the press.
In a separate development, customs officers discovered drugs worth an estimated €4 million in a vehicle travelling in the Border Midlands West region of Ireland on Sunday. The vehicle, which was importing plant machinery, was targeted after being profiled by revenue officers at the National Profiling Centre.
Revenue Commissioners discovered controlled drugs, including approximately 60kg of herbal cannabis, 33kg of cocaine, 2.2kg of MDMA and more than 72,000 ecstasy tablets in a follow-up search.