Two brothers have been arrested and over €300,000 seized in a police raid on a “counting centre” in South Dublin linked to the notorious Kinahan cartel.
Officers believe the cash was destined to be sent to Spain after being sealed in a vacuum packing machine so as it would not be detected by sniffer dogs.
The Kinahan clan, which has been described as a “mafia-style” cartel, is known to operate part of its multi-million euro drug operation out of the Costa de Sol, as well as the Irish capital.
One of the suspects was arrested as he attempted to enter the property carrying bags full of cash. Police believe the gangsters rented the address under false names.
“This is a highly sophisticated money laundering operation and Gardai have carried out surveillance on the apartment for a number for weeks,” a source told the Irish Independent.
“The money was ready to be exported when the raids happened.”
Commenting on the arrests and seizure, Commissioner Nóirín O’Sullivan said: “I think it’s really good evidence of the ongoing work to target organised crime, two people arrested, very significant seizure of cash and indeed significant documentation that will make big in roads into dismantling the Kinahan crime gang.”
Separately, the Sunday Times reports that a suspected hitman allegedly hired by members of the Kinahan clan to murder a rival has made a series of statements to police that investigators believe could result in senior members of the cartel being extradited back to Ireland.
It is believed the man, who cannot be named for legal reasons, has told detectives he was paid by Kinahan bosses to carry out the hit, and that his evidence could be used to implicate key figures from the gang in a murder conspiracy investigation.
A source told the Times that several Kinahan members have fled Ireland after learning about the suspected hitman’s cooperation with police, and that other figures are reluctant to return to Dublin through fear of being arrested in connection with the evidence he is thought to have provided.
The news comes after senior officers last month told the Irish Sun that hitmen hired by the Kinahan cartel could turn informant over worries they might be the next victims of the gang’s campaign to eliminate suspected “rats”.
Assistant Garda Commissioner Pat Leahy told the paper: “When they do start to clean house, you have other people recruited by them thinking, ‘I could be next’. They could end up chasing people into the arms of the Gardai because they have no other way of staying alive.”