GARDAI must bring down Daniel Kinahan in the next few months before the cartel has a chance to groom another leader, a security expert has warned.
As the onslaught on the criminal enterprise run by Kinahan continues, security analyst Sheelagh Brady believes the force’s strategic approach is at a stage where they can hit the top of the gang after taking out its middle ranks.
More than 30 of the global organised crime group have been caged since Ireland’s bloodiest feud kicked off in 2016 when 34-year-old Kinahan gangster David Byrne was shot dead at Dublin’s Regency Hotel.
The dispute between the Kinahan and Hutch factions has claimed 18 lives, with the cartel responsible for 16.
At the end of this month, two more men will receive their sentences after pleading guilty to roles in the 2018 plot to kill Patsy Hutch, brother of Gerry ‘The Monk’ Hutch.
Patrick Curtis and Mohammad Smew will follow the seven others who have already begun their jail terms for crimes relating to the same investigation.
This trial was of significance as the Gardai’s evidence on the cartel and its structures coincided with the mob’s boss Kinahan stepping out at the forefront of professional boxing in an attempt to cleanse his image.
The Special Criminal Court accepted evidence that the organisation the Dubliner runs carries out execution-style murders and trafficks drugs and firearms on an global scale.
As the cartel crumbles, Daniel — who cops believe ordered the hit on Patsy — remains a free man.
But Brady, a former garda for 13 years, believes that while the strategic approach the Gardai took was a long game one that saw the likes of Fat Freddie Thompson receive a life sentence, they now can go for Kinahan.
Brady, Chief Security Analyst with SAR Consultancy, told the Irish Sun on Sunday:
“I think it’s kind of the nature of these types of investigations when such groups are so large. In the early days it’s very hard to go for the top.
“There has to be a strategic approach. While you might want the kingpin, the best strategy the guards have taken is to go for the middlemen.
“So if you take out a kingpin, you will just have a guy who steps up. There might be a fight, there might be a feud, but somebody will eventually step up.
If you take out a kingpin, you will just have a guy who steps up
“And if you take out the bottom kind of foot soldiers, there’s more being groomed to step in that place.
“But if you take out the middle — the protection there at the top is reduced and then it’s much harder for those younger foot soldiers to actually develop that capacity very quickly to rival the higher echelons of the group.
“I think now what we’re seeing is a confidence in the guards, saying we actually have taken much of this middle infrastructure so we can start going for the higher echelons.
“That’s not to say they wouldn’t have been preparing those files and investigations — they would be. But their ability to act and their appropriateness in the time to act is now and into next few months.”
In July, Thomas ‘Bomber’ Kavanagh, recognised as Daniel’s “equal partner”, pleaded guilty to running a multi-million drugs and money laundering network after a lengthy probe by the National Crime Agency in the UK, who hailed the Gardai for their assistance.
TIGHTENING THE NOOSE
And that international cooperation has also seen investigators from the Garda National Drugs and Organised Crime Bureau travel to Dubai to meet officials there about Kinahan.
The police work across different jurisdictions is what spells the end of Kinahan’s campaign of terror, in which cops believe his cartel has murdered 50 people across Europe.
Brady said: “This isn’t just An Garda Siochana or the Irish state taking on the Kinahan Crime Group.
“It’s actually indicative when we see those types of investigations mirrored in other countries — either with the same group or with competing groups — that there’s actually a bigger investigation and a bigger response going on which further indicates a tightening of the noose.”
Key Kinahan bosses are languishing in prison.
Liam Brannigan — who conspired with the cartel murder plotters to assassinate Dubliner Gary Hanley — was jailed for eight years in April.
He was followed by Dean Howe, who was also convicted of the attempt to target Hanley.
Other members who have been caged include brothers Gary and Glen Thompson, who are serving time over an attempt to kill The Monk’s brother Patsy Hutch.
And while his closest allies were jailed, Kinahan launched a PR campaign to reinvent himself as a legitimate businessman in boxing, a move likened to ‘sportswashing’.
But that was brought to a dramatic halt during the summer.
One of the strangest appointments came from the Bahraini royal family to Kinahan’s KHK Sports firm — but weeks later they dropped him amid the reports of his crimes.
He was also seemingly dropped from negotiations of a bout between Tyson Fury and Anthony Joshua, although he did get the initial two-fight deal “over the line”.
It was a “sophisticated” strategy, according to Brady, which involved a rap song, a documentary, and a coordinated social media campaign.
But unfortunately for Daniel, the strategy was not aligned with the facts, established by the courts here.
Brady believes if gardai continue doing what they’re doing and not giving “oxygen” to this persona, that they will have success.
That also echoed what Assistant Commissioner John O’Driscoll said in June.
HAVOC FOR DUBLIN
On that occasion at a media briefing, O’Driscoll — who would not name Daniel specifically — told how the Kinahan Organised Crime Group “wreaked havoc” on the communities of Dublin.
The reinvention of Kinahan also had a second aspect which the Gardai were concerned about, and that’s using boxing as a legitimate source of income.
Security expert Brady explained that following laundered cash is an extremely complex one.
She said: “I know some of the acts, if they can trace that money back further, they can potentially say it was built on the back of illegal monies.
“That’s why it makes it harder when criminals do take this approach and put themselves into the spotlight, it makes it very difficult for law enforcement to ignore.
ATTRACTIVE TO THE YOUNG
“And therefore, if they have the time, effort and capacity to do background investigations, sometimes that money can be taken.”
Brady added: “I think the problem when you have those unlimited resources to maintain that persona and to project that image, you have young people growing up in these areas that often see that as even more attractive now.
“And that’s where I believe An Garda Siochana should keep on doing what they do.