Tragic to read, two former Irish Soccer Stars in Garda Custody with Heroin Charges. Drugs have no Boundaries. Also more news on the Footsoldiers of the Kinahan Cartel, Read below?

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Two men involved with Irish football to appear in court charged over €3m heroin seizure

Photo by Matt Browne/Sportsfile

Two men centrally involved in Irish football including the brother of an international player are due in court tomorrow charged over a €3m heroin seizure.

Keith Quinn (31) and Andrew Noonan (41) have been in custody since Wednesday after being detained under drug-trafficking legislation.

The Irish Independent previously revealed how the pair linked to Irish football were arrested by detectives following the controlled delivery of the massive drugs haul at business premises in Dublin 15.

Keith Quinn is a former professional footballer who was on the books at Sheffield United in his youth before moving on to play with a number of League of Ireland teams including Cork City and Shelbourne.

However, more recently he has played for Bluebell United FC in the Leinster Senior League.

He is also the younger brother of highly respected pro-footballer Stephen Quinn (34) who has a number of caps for the Irish international team and has represented the team in their 2016 Euro qualifying campaign.

Stephen Quinn has played with prestigious English teams including current premier league outfit Sheffield United as well as Hull City, while more recently he has lined out for Burton Albion in League One.

The older man in custody is Andy Noonan (41), who is manager of Bluebell United FC in the Leinster Senior League.

Noonan has held the head coach role at the prestigious club for a number of years which has seen the team win a number of league titles.

The 41-year-old is known to Gardaí and has previous convictions for firearms offences dating back to the early 2000s.

The two men are due to appear before the Criminal Courts of Justice tomorrow morning.

They were arrested when members of the Garda’s Drugs and Organised Crime Bureau (DOCB) recovered 22kg of suspected heroin, with an estimated street value of €3m, in the international operation.

The two men were being quizzed at Blanchardstown garda station under drug-trafficking legislation.

Det Chief Supt Angela Willis, who is in charge of the DOCB, said: “The outcome of cooperation between Revenue and Customs and An Garda Síochána, has resulted in the seizure of a significant quantity of heroin from circulation within communities that are suffering the consequences of drug trafficking”.

Revenue said the “collaboration between both agencies, as well as international colleagues, was significant in the successful outcome of this operation.”

“This operation was part of Revenue’s ongoing joint investigations targeting the importation of illegal drugs. If businesses or members of the public have any information regarding drug smuggling, they can contact Revenue in confidence on Confidential Phone Number 1800 295 295,” a Revenue spokesman said.

Both agencies said that investigations into the major heroin seizure are continuing.

The €3m heroin seizure is one of the largest individual drugs busts in the State so far this year.

In the first six months of 2020 the DOCB seized €13.6 million worth of drugs, along with 13 firearms and 2,000 rounds of ammunition as well as €3.6m in cash.

Murder-plot Kinahan ‘foot soldier’ is cleared of knuckleduster rap

Michael Burns (43) had his case dismissed

A Kinahan cartel “footsoldier” who took part in a plot to kill a member of the Hutch family has been acquitted of an unrelated charge of carrying a knuckleduster as a weapon.

Michael Burns (43), who is serving nine years for his role in the failed 2018 plan to kill Patsy Hutch, had been accused of having the knuckleduster with intent to injure or intimidate.

But Judge Michael Walsh dismissed the case at Dublin District Court.

Burns, with an address at Round Gardens, Garter Lane, Saggart, had pleaded not guilty to possession of the plastic knuckleduster as a weapon on November 26 last year.

The case was heard previously at the non-jury court and when it came back before Judge Walsh he ruled that the initial Garda search of Burns’s car was unlawful.

Suspicious

The court had heard how gardaí saw three males get out of a Vauxhall Insignia and walk in the direction of a Dublin courthouse.

A garda noticed the tax had expired and seized the vehicle. Two of the males returned and one, a juvenile teenager, told him the vehicle was the accused’s.

This teen refused to co-operate further and due to this suspicious activity gardaí decided to search the car, the court heard.

Burns returned and told the gardaí the car was his, the court heard. Gardaí found a black plastic knuckleduster in the back of the front passenger seat.

When asked the reason for having it, he “claimed the knuckleduster was a child’s toy,” Garda Cian O Longaigh said. “I did not believe it could be a child’s toy,” the garda said. “I feel the best way to describe it was as a weapon.”

Patsy Hutch was the intended target of a 2019 murder attempt

John Griffin, defending, argued the search of the car was unlawful as there was no evidence the gardaí had a reasonable suspicion of the commission of a drugs offence.

The accused made no admissions as to owning the knuckle- duster. Judge Walsh agreed and dismissed the case.

In a separate case Burns was jailed at the Special Criminal Court last month for his part in the plot to kill Patsy Hutch, the older brother of Gerry ‘The Monk’ Hutch, in the north inner city in 2018.

His co-accused, Stephen Curtis (32) and Ciaran O’Driscoll (25), were each sentenced to five years in prison.

Burns, O’Driscoll and Curtis admitted to having knowledge of the existence of a criminal organisation and participating in activities to facilitate the planned murder of Patsy Hutch within the State between February 1 and March 10 that year.

Burns was a supervisor of the sub-cell who organised logistics, as well as passing on the instructions for the murder from those higher up in the gang, the court heard.

Sentencing in that case, Mr Justice Tony Hunt said the Kinahan Cartel was a cynical criminal organisation that recruited “dispensable footsoldiers”.

Another four men have also been jailed for their part in the plot.

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