NewsCrime Desk

Dapper Don Kinahan bids to be €1 billion cocaine king

Christy Kinahan
Christy Kinahan

Dapper Don Christy Kinahan has dreams of becoming a modern-day Pablo Escobar and has vowed that his Costa-based mob will one day turn him into Ireland’s first cocaine billionaire.

An army of his bulked-up lieutenants are being sent out to take over territories by any means necessary and there is a ‘shoot to kill’ policy on anyone who gets in the way.

The drug tsar (57), is running one of the biggest wholesale cocaine operations in Spain and his lieutenants are snapping up lucrative drug turf across the U.K. and Scotland while expanding all the time back home in Ireland, north and south of the border.

Cocaine Inc. is run like a multinational. Kinahan’s closest associates make up his executive, with regional CEOs operating throughout the U.K. and Ireland. Each has their own transport, logistic, quality and even communications officers working alongside an army of enforcers and underworld accountants.

Gardai believe that Kinahan’s global operation, which spans Europe, now employees at least 100 directly and hundreds more down the ladder, eventually ending at the foot soldiers who sell grammes of Charlie on the streets, in nightclubs and even in college campuses around the country.

He is shipping massive consignments of cocaine directly from Colombia into mainland Europe, through Spain and Holland, and then transporting it to Dublin, Limerick,

Belfast, Liverpool, Birmingham and now Glasgow in huge loads.

The Irish mob is also dealing cannabis sourced in Morocco and Holland, heroin sourced in Afghanistan and ecstasy pills which are made across Europe. They are shipped into Ireland and the U.K. using legitimate front companies importing anything from frozen chickens to consignments of paving stones to hide their stash.

They also have a network of car dealers across the U.K. and Ireland which they are using to move the drugs. In Dublin they have set up a courier firm which delivers the drugs to a network of customers around the city.

Sources say that Kinahan’s insatiable greed is the driving force behind a colossal expansion that he hopes will rival Russian, Eastern European and South American cartels on the Costa. 

In Puerto Banus, where his mob is based, the Dapper Don has seized control of one of the most lucrative drug markets in Spain. His dealers have sewn up trade in the port town, which is a playground of millionaires and celebrities.

Kinahan dreams of being the King of the Costa.

When gardai first caught him with more than €100,000 worth of heroin in a Dublin apartment back in the late 1980s, they couldn’t have imagined just how big he would become.

He served his time here and headed first for Holland and then Belgium, where he built contacts and an expertise in money laundering between stints in prison.
By the time he reached the Costa del Crime in 2003 he was destined for the big time.

He quickly established a business based on the structure of a multinational company, with key roles for associates and a highly organised network of fixers throughout Europe.

In 2006 his sons Daniel and Christopher Jnr went out to join their dad and within a few short years gardai estimate they were turning over around €100million a year.

By 2008 a multi-agency offensive had been launched in a number of countries against Kinahan, his sidekick John Cunningham and a wide circle of their associates in Ireland, the U.K. and Spain.

Officers said monitoring the gang was almost impossible as they had all been trained in counter-surveillance techniques and changed cars and phones, sometimes three or four times a week. All were encouraged to speak in code.

In May 2010 the highly publicised Operation Shovel resulted in the arrest of 22 people – many of whom were key members of the mob.

Garda sources say that the operation was never going to succeed as a surprise bust on Kinahan, as so many officers from different police forces were informed of it days in advance at a high-powered Europol meeting.

While the dawn raid targeted the seizure of key pieces of evidence, drugs or documents, it seemed the Kinahans had already cleared out their homes of much incriminating evidence.

Since then a magistrate has continued to investigate the gang, but is now concentrating on gang membership and money laundering.

Still, the raids did cause a major cash flow issue for Kinahan and €500m in Brazilian assets and €160m in Spanish assets and companies were all frozen.

But the Dapper Don wasn’t long getting back on his feet. This time, however, he warned his enforcers to be more aggressive than ever.

In the last five years, while the Spanish investigation trudges along, Kinahan has managed to expand his operation to far greater proportions than ever before.

Last year he made an alliance with a Limerick mob determined to take over the Dundons’ trampled empire.

He flew into Ireland and met key members of the Keane gang, who had lost their turf to the notorious Dundons during a murderous decade.

Christy Keane himself survived a shooting incident earlier this summer and has vowed revenge against an alliance of smaller gangs who have got together to challenge his takeover bid.

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Christy Keane

Kinahan has made huge strides into Scotland in recent years and is believed to have gone to war with a rival Glasgow gang.

Cops there are investigating Kinahan’s links to Scotland’s most wanted man, who was recently reported to be working as an enforcer for the Irish mob and hiding out in Spain.

Murder suspect Derek ‘Deco’ Ferguson fled Scotland after a barman was shot dead in Glasgow in 2007 and his fellow suspect Billy Bates was found dead weeks later. 

Police believe Bates was killed before he could give himself up and they are keen to speak to Ferguson about what happened to him. Kinahan is understood to have recruited Ferguson two years ago.

The Irish drug tsar is also believed to be at loggerheads with the infamous Adams family from London, who have controlled much of the city’s drug needs for decades.

In Liverpool he has key lieutenants, making sure he is getting as big a cut as he can from the Merseyside territory.

And in Birmingham a senior lieutenant from Ireland operates as the region boss while transporting drugs through a second-hand car racket into Ireland.

Daniel and Christopher Jnr are the heirs to their father’s throne and both live in gated mansions and look after the day-to-day running of the enormous drugs, weapons and money laundering operation.

The Kinahans are believed to be responsible for up to 90 per cent of all drugs that are sold in Ireland and act as wholesalers for dangerous gangs all over the country. 

In fact, a drugs outfit can measure its success or failure on its relationship with the Kinahan gang. On the Costa they are becoming equal in power to Russian and Colombian cartels based there.