The Sunday World can reveal for the first time how the Irish mafia took control of Africa’s lucrative ‘cocaine corridor’ – one of the main routes for importing drugs into Europe.
After the drugs landed in the southern part of Africa, the Kinahan gang would use ‘air ambulances’ to move the cocaine through the continent to ports where it could be shipped into Europe.
They joined up with the Dutch Morrocan mafia who control the ports of entry into Europe, Rotterdam and Antwerp, and together set the price and the tonnage flooding in to the massive drugs market.
Christy Kinahan Snr re-invented himself as an aviation boss from his headquarters in Dubai while his son Daniel turned CEO of the lucrative logistics wing dealing directly with South American suppliers and European buyers.
The business plan and savvy maneuver by the two groups turned both into powerful billionaire cartels within a matter of years, US authorities have learned.
The supply route from South America across the Atlantic to East Africa and onwards to west and north Africa in the smaller ‘air ambulance’ planes flooded Europe with high purity cocaine and turned Kinahan and his sons into key players in the world drug market.
US authorities uncovered the extent of their power five years ago when they observed meetings between them and the leaders of European mafia groups at Daniel Kinahan’s wedding at the Burj Al Arab.
At that point, concerns about price fixing and a flood of cocaine through the ports of Rotterdam and Antwerp had been flagged to the US.
Undercover operatives in Africa discovered the Kinahan’s role as the route controllers of the African path to Europe involving isolated landing strips for motherloads from Colombia, Peru and Chile and the use of air ambulance to move smaller cargos onwards to the north of the continent where the cocaine made it’s journey onwards to Europe.
Amazingly, the ‘Dapper Don’ hid in plain sight in the Gulf State and openly touted himself publicly as a legitimate aviation broker.
Kinahan Snr even tweeted about a new business venture for the planes, which continued the movement of drugs during Covid lockdowns using the guise of emergency medical transporters.
The firm he mentioned in the tweet, Nyasa Air Charters, is based in Malawi and is affiliated with another charter firm, Crescents and Crosses, which runs an air ambulance service.
Using his CVK Investment account, he tweeted about their ‘memorandum of understanding’ – “CVK Investments have signed MOU to invest in a joint venture with a Malawian company, Nyasa Air Charter Limited, to operate an air ambulance service. More updates to come.”
Nayasa Air Charters also states on its LinkedIn page that it works “to provide aviation services throughout Africa and the Middle East”.
The website for Crescents and Crosses has been taken off-line since last April but cached pages list a number of people as directors and details their roles.
There is no suggestion that the named directors had any knowledge of the Kinahan cocaine smuggling operation or are involved themselves in any criminal activity.
One of them is Irishman John James Nammock, who made international headlines in 1976 when he was captured while fighting as a mercenary in Angola’s civil war.
The then 20-year-old, an Irish citizen with an address in London at the time, had served in the British Paratroop Regiment and was recruited to fight for £150 a week.
When acting as a radio operator, he was wounded in the fighting and taken prisoner and later given a 16-year prison sentence, according to court documents available online.
In 1983, he was again wounded when an ammunition dump beside his prison blew up, according to a report from an international news agency.
On the Crescents and Crosses website, he is described as a director and chief security for the air ambulance company.
“John is our chief security officer and is responsible for advising and planning of personal security procedures, particularly in country.”
“John served with the British army and has a wealth of experience, particularly in Africa, with more than a total of 40 years including anti-piracy experience.”
An attempt to contact Mr Nammock for comment has been made via a social media account.
The firm’s financial officer, Ibrahim Eldesouky, is listed as being based in the United Arab Emirates.
The Malawi-based Platform for Investigative Journalism (PIJ) this week reported that a former pilot for Nyasa Air Charter said the company has ceased operations.
“We were doing a medical evacuation for Covid patients during the Covid lockdown,” the pilot said.
The strategic location of North Africa, as a crossroads to Europe, is the next key point where cartels make use of well worn cannabis smuggling routes to ship on cocaine.
In 2020, more than 200 tons of cocaine were seized in Europe and that figure has increased ever since.