Gardaí believe gang chose cars over cash as payment

Dune buggy, Rolex watches and engagement ring from fiancee among items seized in Cab raids

Members of the Criminal Assets Bureau and armed gardaí removing vehicles from a premises in Bluebell. Photograph: Alan Betson/The Irish Times

Members of the Criminal Assets Bureau and armed gardaí removing vehicles from a premises in Bluebell. Photograph: Alan Betson/The Irish Times

 

The crime cartel targeted in high-profile raids spearheaded by the Criminal Assets Bureau has been trying to evade having its assets confiscated by taking high-value cars rather than cash as payment for deliveries of drugs to UK gangs, gardaí believe.

Informed sources said the Dublin-based members of the international crime syndicate, led by Christy Kinahan from Spain, had been using a garage in Dublin and the internet to sell cars to unsuspecting buyers.

The proceeds of those sales had generated revenue for the business that was run through the company’s accounts, with taxes paid and salaries drawn by the drug dealers who were presenting themselves as businessmen.

The arrangement meant the drugs money was laundered and salaries were generated for the criminals that they could show to explain their wealth if investigated by the Cab.

Gardaí also believe false paperwork was being created to suggest the vehicles given as payment for consignments of drugs were paid for with cash generated from previous fictitious car sales.

The men targeted on Wednesday when gardaí raided 19 premises were close associates of Crumlin drug dealer David Byrne (33) who was shot dead in the gun attack at the Regency Hotel, Drumcondra, on February 5th.

Gardaí took away 28 cars, a dune buggy, six motorcycles, 10 Rolex and Breitling watches and about €100,000 in cash.

One of the men had bought an engagement ring for his fiancee which was taken from her onWednesday.

Betting slip

A total of 11 houses in Crumlin, a pub in the north inner city controlled by the gang, the garage in west Dublin and the offices of six accountants and solicitors were raided.

A large amount of electronic data and paperwork was confiscated and will be analysed in the hope the targets’ financial dealings can be unravelled.

Garda sources said some documentation had been found that revealed the cost of Byrne’s funeral, adding media reports at the time had “grossly overestimated” the sums spent.

The vehicles that were seized were taken from both the garage at the centre of the investigation and also in Crumlin parked close to their owners’ homes. All of the main figures targeted were asleep in their beds when gardaí began the surprise raids around dawn.

Some of the properties raided had been extended and decorated lavishly, with significant security systems put in place.