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low blow CAB target was behind drugs stash held by jailed ex-Sinn Fein candidate

Earlier this year Martin Kelly, who managed a pub in Naas, was jailed for three years after pleading guilty to possession of the drugs at Swan Dowling’s pub in September 2019.

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Martin Kelly at Naas Court

Martin Kelly at Naas Court

Martin Kelly at Naas Court

THE criminal at the centre of Criminal Asset Bureau raids in Co Kildare this week is suspected to be behind the €15,000 stash of drugs for which an ex-Sinn Fein candidate was jailed.

Earlier this year Martin Kelly, who managed a pub in Naas, was jailed for three years after pleading guilty to possession of the drugs at Swan Dowling’s pub in September 2019.

Kelly, who stood as a genral election candidate in 2011, had campaigned against head shops in the area.

The trial judge accepted Kelly had got involved as a result of his own cocaine use and came under pressure to store the drugs.

Judge Mary O’Malley Costello described Kelly as “a small cog in a big wheel but an essential cog without which this industry could not succeed.”

This week the criminal suspected to have been behind the stash found at the pub was the target of CAB raids carried out in Kildare, Kilkenny and Wexford.

Sources told the Sunday World this week he had been “knocking on doors” in recent day collecting debts before CAB officers struck.

Known for “flashing his cash” and driving top-end vehicles, the gangster attracted the attention of local CAB profilers.

The CAB seized luxury vehicles, jewellery and cash after searches in counties Kildare, Kilkenny and Wexford on Wednesday morning.

The operation involved searches at six separate locations, supported by gardaí in the Naas District and the Emergency Response Unit and no arrests were made.

Property seized included a BMW X5 with a 211 registration, two motorcycles, €13,500 in cash, and 12 watches, including six Rolex watches, two Audemars Piguet watches and two Cartier watches.

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Twelve watches including six Rolexes, two Audemars Piguets and two Cartiers were seized

Twelve watches including six Rolexes, two Audemars Piguets and two Cartiers were seized

Twelve watches including six Rolexes, two Audemars Piguets and two Cartiers were seized

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“This morning’s operation was conducted in the context of an on-going CAB proceeds of crime investigation targeting assets linked to a significant drug trafficker and his associates residing in the Kildare area,” according to a garda spokesperson.

“The case was referred to the Bureau by a profiler working in the Naas Garda District and reflects the continued importance of the asset profiler network in identifying CAB targets nationwide.”

The investigation into the gangster’s network and his links to national and international gangs is ongoing.

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