€500k worth of cars and €38k Liverpool betting slip seized in gangland raid
A €38k betting slip for a Liverpool match was among the items seized when 12 homes and six businesses were raided today in a massive garda operation targeting the Kinahan crime cartel.
The chief targets of the operation were close associates of gangster David Byrne who was shot dead in the Regency Hotel gun attack last month.
Over 20 top-of-the range cars and motorbikes were seized along with top-end jewellery, including a number of Rolex watches.
Gardai also seized a betting slip for a €38,000 bet on a Liverpool football match from one of the properties that was raided in the Crumlin area.
The raids, which were co-ordinated by the Criminal Assets Bureau (CAB) and backed up by heavily-armed gardai, took place at addresses in the Raleigh Square, Kildare Road and the Windmill Road areas of Crumlin.
A Garda member entering a Crumlin property
Gardai removed a number of cars from the homes in Crumlin, including a Mercedes CLA220 with a 151 reg, a Lexus RX450h Hybrid, and a 151 VW Golf GTI as well as a white BMW.
Meanwhile, in the Bluebell Business Park, a car sales company called Active Car Sales was also raided and more than 15 cars were seized, among them expensive BMWs.
The estimated worth of the cars seized at these homes today is well over €500,000.
Among the homes raided by gardai this morning was that of Liam Byrne (35), the older brother of Regency murder victim David.
Shot dead: David Byrne
There were tense scenes when another brother, James, tried to gain access to one of the houses in Raleigh Square which was being raided. He had to be forcibly removed by armed gardai.
James Byrne then threatened gardai and members of the media before the situation calmed down and gardai allowed him leave.
Also raided was the home of Sean McGovern (30) who was shot in the Regency Hotel attack but survived and spent a number of days being treated in hospital for his injuries.
An accountant and solicitor’s office were also raided this morning in the huge operation – which involved over 60 gardai.
A large number of documents were seized along with some computers.
"The aim of this operation is to identify assets linked to associates of David Byrne. This is a CAB investigation and the hard work really starts after today when all items that have been seized will be fully analysed," a source said.
The targeted mob are part of the Christy Kinahan crime cartel, who have been involved in a deadly feud with the Hutch mob, which has led to three murders so far.
Part of Windmill Road and all of Raleigh Square were blocked off by armed gardai as the raids took place. The garda helicopter could also be seen monitoring the searches from above.
"The Emergency Response Unit carried out all the breaches of doors and gained access to the houses, then the Special Detective Unit swept the area and closed the roads," a source said.
Members of the Special Detective Unit carrying MP7 machine guns manned the roadblocks.
"The searches are part of an on-going investigation into organised crime groups which has been under way for some considerable time," a garda spokesman said.
The Criminal Assets Bureau was assisted in the operation by personnel the Emergency Response Unit, Drugs and Organised Crime Bureau, Special Detective Unit, Dublin Metropolitan South Division, Dublin Metropolitan North Central Division, the Garda Siochana Technical Bureau and the Farda Operational Support Unit. Assistance was also provided by the Revenue Customs service.
Gardai and members of the CAB could be seen entering a number of houses.
On one house the front door had been battered open.
Many of the targeted homes had state-of-the-art CCTV systems outside, while sources have revealed that investigators have noted the "luxurious interiors" of many of the raided properties.
There were no arrests and no firearms seized.
The streets where the searches took place are the same streets which were heavily policed by armed gardai only weeks ago in the wake of the Regency Hotel killing of David Byrne on February 5, and the retaliation shooting of Eddie Hutch Snr at Poplar Row three days later.
Members of the public expressed outrage at the massive display of wealth at David Byrne’s funeral which included a dozen limousines, outriders on Harley Davidson motorbikes, an €18,000 platinum coffin, horse-drawn carriages, and a lone piper.
It is believed that this display of "bravado" led the CAB to "speed up" the long-term plans that the agency had to target the cartel’s members.