The Irish Independenthas learned that a number of the crime group’s key lieutenants are continuing to operate independently out of their Spanish base to run their drugs network importing cocaine and cannabis into the Irish and UK market.
Sources have said that this cohort have been working separately from the cartel hierarchy in Dubai in recent months but remain loyal to the Kinahans and are still “trading” under their name.
The Irish criminals predominately based in Spain include convicted armed robber Kevin Lynch, who has worked as an enforcer for the gang, and senior figure Gary Finnegan.
Another associate is a man in his 30s who has a senior role within the gang and is suspected of acting as the gang’s accountant.
He has previously been targeted by the Criminal Assets Bureau (CAB) and recently received a prison term for a fraud- related crime.
A source said: “They are still continuing to run their drugs operation despite the sanctions against the Kinahan gang. They are sourcing drugs directly from South America which are sold on the Irish and UK markets.
“This gang has also been linked to the importation of cannabis into Ireland recently and appears to be operating as normal, while also working with other gangs to import large shipments of drugs.
“They still answer to the Kinahan hierarchy but are operating at a distance after the sanctions were imposed by OFAC (Office of Foreign Assets Control).”
Gardaí believe the gang still has a powerbase in Ireland to distribute drugs while senior associates run the day-to-day operations from outside of this jurisdiction.
One method being used by the gang is to rent properties from legitimate people which are then used as hubs to receive and distribute drugs.
Gardaí recently made a multi-million-euro drug seizure in the south-east of the country after searching a business premises.
The unsuspecting owners believed the property was being used as a food business but instead it was a cover for the drug operation.
Investigations into the wider Kinahan network are continuing with gardaí receiving significant amounts of intelligence through a reward scheme announced by the US Department of State.
Up to $5m (€4.9m) is being offered to anyone who provides information leading to the prosecution of the Kinahan hierarchy, or that would dismantle what has been termed a transnational criminal organisation.
Daniel Kinahan – who US officials say is nicknamed Chess, Cuz, and D – was described as running the day-to-day operations of the gang while his brother Christopher Jnr, known as ‘Mano’, has access to the gang’s funds and the “ability to direct proceeds to persons and businesses outside of Dubai”.