Gangland thug caught with cash at Dublin airport has Kinahan cartel links
A GANGLAND criminal who had thousands of euro confiscated at Dublin Airport en route to the Costa de Sol has links to the Kinahan cartel.
Dublin Circuit Criminal Court heard this week that Gerard Claxton Jnr (41), from Blanchardstown, north Dublin, was one of four men stopped with cash totalling €17,600 as they prepared to travel on one-way tickets to Malaga, Spain, in February last year.
Claxton is believed to have ties to a west Dublin crime gang, but also has links to Kinahan Cartel members, including Liam Byrne.
Associates of Claxton are suspected of supplying weapons to cartel members.
The court heard how gardaí believe Claxton and other associates are linked to the drug trade.
Customs officials seized the cash after hearing contradictory explanations about its use.
Claxton Jnr, who is a convicted armed robber, was stopped with €12,000 and claimed the money was to be used to buy an apartment in Malaga.
He also said €6,000 belonged to his father, Gerard Claxton Snr, and later told customs officials that he ran a gym and started a second-hand car business and the cash came from these sources.
The gym in Ballycoolin, Blanchardstown, featured in the Sunday World last year when we revealed Claxton was being monitored by Gardaí due to his suspected involvement in organised crime.
However, other people involved in the running of the northside gym are not involved in criminality.
We also revealed how he had stopped by officers while driving cars owned by LS Active Cars – a now dissolved company run by Liam Byrne, whose brother David was shot dead in the Regency Hotel attack.
Gardaí seized dozens of cars belonging to the firm in March last year.
Gardaí believe a network of dodgy car dealers is used to launder money for the cartel.
When stopped by customs officers, Claxton admitted he had no documentary evidence of where the money had come from, as it was accumulated in cash.
His father also had €8,000 on him and told customs it was to be used of furnish a Spanish apartment they had already bought.
The court heard there were gaps in the employment and tax records of the two men.
Unemployed Lee Boylan, from Fortlawn Avenue in Clonsilla, had €2,500 on him and said it was to spend on his holidays, while Michael Jones of Whitestown Drive in Blanchardstown had €1,500 on him and said he was self-employed.
Officials said they deemed the cash seized in Dublin Airport last February to have been pooled by the four men and later investigations revealed that Garda intelligence linked the men together and to the drug trade in west Dublin.
Claxton Jnr received an eight-year sentence for firearms offences and armed robbery of a bookmaker returning from Fairyhouse Racecourse. Claxton Snr has a conviction for burglary.
The other two men have no convictions.
Kieran Kelly BL, for the State, told Judge Karen O’Connor that it was the State’s case that the cash seized represented the proceeds of crime or was intended for use in criminal conduct.
The four men declined to take part in proceedings and Judge Karen O’Connor granted an order for the forfeiture of the cash after she was satisfied the cash was the proceeds of crime and was intended by for use in connection with criminal conduct.