The intelligence that resulted in the arrest of seven men and the seizure of more than €2 million worth of Kinahan drugs and bundles of cash was filtered into Ireland directly from Bogota, the capital of Colombia.
The detailed information centred on the activities of a Kinahan cell shipping cocaine, cannabis and heroin into Ireland and headed up by a Spanish based drug boss was fed across the world to officers from the Garda’s Drug and Organised Crime Bureau.
Late last year the Cabinet rubber stamped a request by Garda Commissioner Drew Harris to enter into a formal information exchange with the Colombian National Police and a member of the force has been stationed in Bogota since.
Colombia is the biggest producer of cocaine in the world and is the key point of export to Europe but Brazilian Federal Police are also information sharing through the Garda liaison.
The detailed intelligence meant officers were able to time to perfection how they moved in on a gang made up of two brothers, new recruits from Dublin’s southside, a Coolock man well known to Gardai and the leader of the cell who is from Liverpool but based mostly in Spain where he has been co-ordinating the route.
A series of raids and arrests were co-ordinated throughout Dublin on Wednesday and involved searches of a warehouse, a flat and a car being stopped on the M50.
In the search of the gang ‘stash house’ in Beaumont, gardaí discovered liquid cocaine concealed in champagne and wine bottles.
Five men were due before the courts today in relation to the bust with one, the Liverpool suspect, remaining in custody.
During the operation a number of suspects attempted to evade gardaí by swimming across the River Liffey near Palmerstown but were arrested.
Cocaine, cannabis and heroin were recovered with an estimated street value of €2m, as well as hundreds of thousands of euros in cash.
Money counting and vacuum packing machines, encrypted communication devices and a “substantial quantity” of documents were also seized.
Information on the Kinahan top command and their underlings is understood to be flooding in since US sanctions led to massive cash rewards and tip lines being established.
At the same time Brazilian and Colombian police now have a direct link to their European and Irish counterparts and it is understood that information relating to direct shipments is flooding across the Atlantic at the same time as the cocaine.
Further major operation against mob cells are expected in coming months.