Kinahan cartel under surveillance in Dubai after senior member met Italian mafia boss there
A main cocaine supplier to the gang was arrested last month, curtailing access to the drug.
Dec 1st 2017, 12:05 AM 84,551 Views Updated December 2020.
Image: Garda Press
A MAFIA BOSS has been spotted meeting with a top member of the Kinahan gang in a number of Dubai hotels.
The meetings come on foot of the arrest of Kinahan’s main drugs supplier, El Rico, last month. His Chilean operation had been supplying an estimated 60% of all cocaine to the Irish market.
Daniel Kinahan, son of Christy Kinahan Snr, has made the Emirati state home for the last six months due to the Garda and European crackdown on the cartel.
The younger Kinahan has been seen, on numerous occasions, dining in Dubai hotels with one of the leading members of the ‘Ndrangheta – a feared mafia gang based in Calabria in Italy.
The senior mafia figure was arrested in Dubai earlier this year. He had previously been questioned there in 2013 and 2014 in relation to allegations of drug trafficking. This year’s arrest was sanctioned because he is wanted for questioning in Italy in relation to cases of theft, money laundering and extortion. The extradition process is still ongoing. However, it is believed that Dubai will not sanction the extradition.
The ‘Ndrangheta cartel
The ‘Ndrangheta crime group is suspected of bringing in nearly half of Europe’s cocaine supply to the continent.
The Dubai police have been briefed by international police that Daniel Kinahan is in the state. The Kinahan gang’s supply of cocaine was severely hit by the arrest of El Rico. When police in Chile swooped on El Rico, they also seized a number of encrypted electronic devices during the arrest of the cocaine trafficker. They believe that these phones will confirm who he has been working with in Europe.
The result of the arrest meant that the Kinahan cartel had to find a new supplier as soon as possible. A number of large seizures by garda units have left Ireland with an impending cocaine shortage.
It is not believed that any agreement has been reached between Italian and Irish criminal elements. According to underworld sources, it is likely that the ‘Ndrangheta would be wary to go into business with a cartel that has been hit by a high number of seizures in recent months. However, the size of the cartel’s customer base is something which would likely be of interest to the ‘Ndrangheta.
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The assets seized included more than 1,500 betting shops, 82 online gambling sites and almost 60 companies, as well as numerous properties, the police said.
Prosecutors issued arrest warrants for 28 people suspected of running the gambling empire and placed 23 others either under house arrest or ordered them to check in with the police.
The gang “recycled an enormous amount of ‘dirty’ money through the use of gaming accounts assigned to willing or unwitting people,” police said at the time. They bypassed the laws governing this sector, accumulating significant profits that were then reinvested in the acquisition of new companies and licences to further expand their activities.
Eleven of the companies seized were based abroad, in Austria, Malta, Romania and Spain.