End game | 

Ireland’s elite Garda chief vows to pursue Kinahan crime group ‘until it no longer exists’

‘The noose is getting tighter, but not to the extent I would like to see’

This could be the end for Kinahan, Ireland's top cop has said

Neil FetherstonhaughSunday World

Ireland’s top police officer fighting organised crime has vowed to pursue the Kinahan crime group “until the group no longer exists”.

In a new interview with the Financial Times, in which it predicted that next year will prove to be the endgame for the cartel, Detective Chief Superintendent Seamus Boland said he’s satisfied significant progress will be made to arrest the main leaders.

“I would be satisfied that 2023 will advance matters significantly,” the detective chief superintendent, who heads the Garda National Drugs and Organised Crime Bureau, told the Financial Times.

Mr Boland said the crime gang has amassed “mind-boggling finance” and this wealth and power has led to the Department of Treasury in the US government placing a $5m bounty on the top seven players in the cartel.

Law enforcement officials believe the super-cartel, of which Kinahan is the last man standing, controlled a third of Europe’s cocaine trade.

According to the Financial Times, some estimates have the Kinahan’s drug operation worth close to €1bn.

Bounties have been put on all the main leaders' heads

Anna Sergi, a criminology professor at the University of Essex, also told the FT that: “The endgame for the Kinahans is coming into sight”.

“The Kinahans are poison now…with all this international attention on them,” Sergi said.

In recent years Kinahan has been feeling the noose tightening with the arrests of former allies and crime bosses Dutch-Moroccan Ridouan Taghi, Italian Camorra boss Raffaelle Imperiale and Balkan crime lord Edin Gacinin.

Meanwhile, his own lieutenants Johnny Morrisey and Thomas ‘The Bomber’ Kavanagh have also been apprehended by law enforcement.

Imperiale has now become a State witness, which will come as a severe blow to all who did business with him in the underworld.

Along with the $5m bounties, sanctions imposed by the US saw the UAE freeze Kinahan assets in his Middle Eastern bolthole and elsewhere.

Along with Daniel, his father Christy Snr and brother Christy Jnr were sanctioned by the US in April, as were four more key cartel associates. While Morrissey has already been apprehended Seán McGovern, Ian Dixon and Bernard Clancy are still at large for now.

“The noose is getting tighter, but not to the extent I would like to see,” Sheelagh Brady, former Garda Sergeant who now runs SAR consultancy, told the FT.

This could be the end for Kinahan, Ireland's top cop has said

“I still think there are locations that keep them relatively safe and people that want to work with them,” Ms Brady said.

“Kinahan, who cultivated ties to professional boxing alongside his illicit operations, was reportedly sleeping in different locations each night in an effort to avoid detection,” the FT reports.

“But things were about to get much worse. By April, Kinahan, his father and brother were sanctioned by the US, and the United Arab Emirates froze their assets.

“In September, his alleged key money launderer was busted in Spain. Two months later, another ‘super cartel’ associate was arrested in Dubai.

“Some 48 others were detained in raids across Europe and the UAE that Europol said had “taken down” that crime syndicate. For Kinahan (45) the biggest European kingpin still at large, who inherited the cartel from his father and transformed it into a source of “mind-boggling finance”, 2023 could be the year when the net finally closes in.”

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