Kinahan cartel demand UVF pay £500k drug debt following massive cocaine seizure

Global drug runners have been Loyalist's major supplier in recent years but the relationship is on the rocks over missing payment

Daniel Kinahan

Richard Sullivan

East Belfast UVF is facing a £500,000 cash demand from the Kinahan cartel over an unpaid drugs bill.

The global drug runners have been one of East Belfast's major suppliers in recent years but the relationship is on the rocks over the missing payment.

The Sunday World understands the organised crime gang is insisting the debt is not theirs and is the responsibility of an intermediary.

The intermediary comes in the shape of two brothers, originally from Dublin but who have been based in Belfast for the last number of years.

They are major players in the drug market and have worked as "agents" for the Kinahans for some time.

It is understood the Kinahan drugs flow through them for distribution to a variety of customers including East Belfast UVF but also the UDA in the west of the city and dealers in mid and north Antrim.

They have been supplying East Belfast with cocaine.

The UVF makes their presence felt in East Belfast

There was a confrontation at a tense meeting in Lisburn between a UVF representative and the intermediaries when a demand for payment was made.

"The brothers have told them (UVF) they owe the money, that's the bottom line," a source told us.

The meeting was held in March but as far as the Kinahans are concerned the debt is still outstanding.

"The message was very clear, they (Kinahans) don't care that they are dealing with a paramilitary organisation, they have no interest in that as far as they are concerned they are just customers.

"They're not going to war with the UVF, they just want their money."

It is understood the money is owed on part of a drugs shipment with a street value of £3 million intercepted by police in Belfast's docklands in March.

PSNI Detective Inspector Conor Sweeney with the seized drugs at Belfast Harbour

A number of organised crime gangs were left reeling following the multi-million pound seizure.

A lorry carrying a bumper consignment of Class A cocaine and Class B cannabis was stopped as it left the harbour estate.

Initially cops discovered £1.8million pounds worth but a follow-up search revealed a further cache worth £1.2 million in a secret compartment under the floor of the truck.

It is understood police returned acting on information received from an informant.

The loss of the consignment dealt a major blow to East Belfast UVF which was to take the bulk of the drugs.

The rest was to be divided between other gangs including West Belfast UDA.

It is understood the drugs were to be taken to a rural location in Co Down from where they were to be distributed. East Belfast believe they shouldn't have to stump up for drugs they never received. The security of the shipment, they believe, was the responsibility of the intermediaries who brokered the deal.

But has far as the Kinahans are concerned they are out of pocket.

"Because of their relationship with the Kinahans, the brothers bring in the drugs at a knock down prices and then get a kick back from the price they negotiate with the likes of East Belfast UVF," said our source.

"But at the end of the day the drugs need to be paid for."

He said the East has been told in no uncertain terms that there will be consequences should they refuse to pay up.

The cartel is ruthless in its dealings evidenced by a brutal feud with the rival Hutch gang which has left 18 people dead.

It is business as usual for the Kinahan cartel when it comes to their bread and butter - drugs.

The US is offering $5million for information on the Kinahans

Earlier this month the US administration put a $5million bounty on the head of cartel chief Daniel Kinahan and other senior members of the international organisation.

And last week MTK Global the boxing company linked to Daniel Kinahan announced it would cease to trade by the end of the month.

With the net closing in it prompted a number of the world's best boxers to distance themselves from the organisation - including Belfast's Michael Conlán and Paddy Barnes.

Their main client, multiple world champion Tyson Fury also distanced himself after previously praising Daniel Kinahan.

If East Belfast UVF think the Kinahans' attention is elsewhere they have another think coming.

They face the added prospect of a high-level informant in their ranks. Only a select few would have had knowledge of the docklands drug cache but with the involvement of a number of gangs there is the greater chance of a leak.

Despite denying they were senior partners in the drug deal, the Sunday World understands East Belfast UVF leadership believe they have been sold out by one of their own.

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