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Kinahan drugs cartel 'working in partnership' with notorious Scottish gang

'But the Kinahans are not interested in flogging vodka...Their real business is cocaine and heroin'

Neil Fetherstonhaugh

The Kinahan drugs cartel that was hit by a series of US sanctions last week is working in partnership with one for the most notorious crime gangs in Scotland, a member of the parliament there has claimed.

Russell Findlay said he believed that the cartel which is now in the sights of the American government has been working alongside the feared Lyons gang in Scotland.

The Lyons gang are based in the north of Glasgow but have links to other groups nationwide.

They have been linked to the Kinahans who are now the target of Irish, American and British law enforcement who launched coordinated action against the cartel - with a reward of up to $5 million offered for information against its three most senior members.

Russell Findlay told the parliament that one Kinahan gang member to be sanctioned is John Morrissey, along with the Glasgow based vodka company Nero Drinks.

“But the Kinahans are not interested in flogging vodka,” Mr Findlay said.

Daniel Kinahan

“Their real business is cocaine and heroin. And it is widely known that this cartel is in partnership with Scotland's Lyons gang, making vast profits from killing Scots.

“The SNP government turned its back on the UK government’s project Adder, which aims to tackle drug trafficking with tougher police enforcement.

"Considering these international sanctions, will the cabinet secretary rethink this decision?"

In response, Keith Brown, the SNP's justice minister, said he was sorry that Mr Findley had “so quickly adopted his usual SNP attack mode”.

“I think there's a very serious issue at the root of this which is the pervasive influence of organised crime,” he said.

“I think that Police Scotland working with other agencies including the National Crime Agency, do work very effectively in order to address the issue of not just organised crime but drugs gangs.

“And I will continue to support Police Scotland in their efforts to do so and continue to support the joint work that we do with the National Crime Agency and other partners in both in Scotland and the UK.

“That seems to me the constructive and effective way to go forward rather than seeking to throw mud wherever it's possible.”

In response, Mr Russell took to twitter to state: “Due to Kinahan gang Scottish links, I asked justice secretary if he would re-think rejection of UK-wide Project ADDER to hit drug gangs.

Christy Kinahan

“His response was petty & evasive. No actual answer, just nonsense accusations that I was in 'SNP attack mode' & 'throwing mud'.”

The unprecedented $5 million reward on the heads of Christy Kinahan snr and his two sons, Daniel and Christy jnr, is aimed at smashing the wall of silence around the gang's leadership.

In its statement, US Department of Treasury said Christy jnr was being sanctioned for his role in the gang and that he "contributes to a fund that is used to pay KOCG members".

This is the network that keeps the cartel's men behind bars happy while the bosses continue to enjoy their lavish lifestyles in Dubai.

The Sunday World previously revealed how Kinahan gangsters are paid between €500 and €1,000 a week while doing time.

With 79 Kinahan-linked prisoners locked up in Ireland and others in the UK, it is a significant weekly bill.

In some cases, the cash is lodged through betting shops into online accounts and in envelopes stuffed through the letter boxes at the homes of wives and girlfriends.

The cash is vital in keeping their loyalty and making sure the banged-up gang members keep their mouths shut.

Convicted fraudster Dean Masterson is being investigated by the Criminal Assets Bureau for his part in the Kinahan's salary system, which is run like a normal business. He is serving a four-year prison sentence for mortgage fraud.

In another recent case, evidence was heard in court how a total of €100,000 came through the letterbox of a woman whose partner was serving a prison sentence.

But it is likely US authorities already had a strong case against the three Kinahans even before they posted the massive reward.

One source suggested the evidence against them is likely to lie outside Ireland and investigators have spent a number of years working on bringing them down.

Meanwhile, former Dublin Lord Mayor Nial Ring said there was a palpable "sense of relief" in Dublin's north-inner city, where the Hutch family lives, following this week's extraordinary moves against the Kinahan crime cartel.

Cllr Ring, who represents the area, said people in the community now believe serious efforts are being made to take down the cartel that had wrought so much damage through its deadly feud with the Hutch gang.

"For the US to come in as they did, and the US Treasury putting the squeeze on them... proves to people here that the gang will be dismantled."

Another local source who is close to the Hutch family said there was also relief amongst family members that the net "is really tightening around the Kinahans" although there are still fears of retribution from members of the Kinahan gang.

Assistant Commissioner John O'Driscoll said this week that the cartel had generated about €1 billion by leaving "addiction and violence in its wake".

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