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Kinahan cartel: Gardai say 'huge' amount of intelligence coming from underworld figures

Commissioner Harris revealed the “flow of information” being made available from underworld channels, as well as banking institutions has been massive

David Raleigh

Gardai are receiving a “huge” amount of intelligence from underworld sources in Ireland and beyond and are progressing plans to widen the net in its “focus” of bringing down the Kinahan drugs cartel, the Garda Commissioner Drew Harris has said..

Last April the US government imposed sanctions on senior members of the Kinahan mob and offered rewards of up to $5 million US dollars for information leading to arrests of gang leaders or the financial disruption of the Irish organised crime group.

The gang, which the High Court has previously heard is controlled by Daniel Kinahan, his father Christy Kinahan, and his brother Christopher Kinahan jnr, have all been placed on a watchlist by the US Treasury Department.

The US ambassador Claire Cronin announces a reward up to $15m for information leading to the dismantling of the Kinahan cartel last month. Photo: Frank McGrath

Furthermore, at least 600 persons with alleged links to Kinahan crime figures have been put on a US travel ban, and Daniel Kinahan has had financial assets frozen by the United Arab Emirates, as gardai and their international counterparts work together to bring the gang to justice.

Speaking at the Garda Training College, Templemore, Co Tipperary, at the passing out of 102 new gardai, Commissioner Harris told reporters that the “flow of information” being made available from underworld channels, as well as banking institutions, relating to the Kinahan gang’s activities and finances, has been massive.

“There is a huge amount of information flowing from the banking sector internationally, but there is also a huge amount of information flowing in from less salubrious areas of society as well.

"And we are picking up on that, in terms of delivering on our part of the investigation and working with our (international) partners,” said Commissioner Harris.

Garda Commissioner Drew Harris.

A senior Garda source confirmed the Garda boss was specifically referring to information coming to gardai from underworld, gangland sources.

Assistant Commissioner John O’Driscoll, who is in charge of garda operations targeting organised crime groups met US counterparts in Washington last week to formulate a plan to try to extend sanctions against alleged associates of Kinahan crime figures.

Commissioner Harris said the 600 persons already subject to the US travel ban was “the responsibility” of the “US Customs and Border Protection Agency”, but he revealed that Gardai are also looking beyond the US “to our other international partners to see what else might be done in respect of those 600 people”.

“There is some very significant crime figures, and (we want) to see what else might be done in terms of focusing on them,” said Mr Harris.

The Commissioner said one of his key priorities was “to make sure we are focusing on principal targets and bringing individuals to justice”.

Mr Harris said the Garda’s focus on the Kinahan gang is now being “spread out to far more international bases than (Europe)” and that Gardai are liaising with various countries, who he said can impose “different rules, in respect of individuals traveling to specific countries”.

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