Gardaí aim to bring charges against main Kinahan cartel figures
14th April 2022
Gardaí are hoping to bring charges against the Kinahan cartel hierarchy after the US government put a $5m bounty on their heads.
It is part of a joint international operation against the gang in which seven key members and three companies have been sanctioned in the US.
Gardaí are now working to charge the leadership, in particular Daniel Kinahan, and are looking at a range of offences.
This includes directing a criminal organisation, money laundering, as well as alleged crimes that were outlined in sanctions by the US Department of Treasury.
They say that Kinahan is involved in organising shipments from South America and into Ireland, that he is attempting to facilitate the importation of cocaine into the UK, and that he arranged payments to be made to cartel prisoners.
These include one inmate serving a life sentence for a feud murder and another jailed over a failed murder plot. The garda inquiries into Daniel Kinahan have been ongoing for some time with the aim of bringing criminal charges against him.
Investigations are also continuing into his father, Christy Snr, who once ran the crime network but now oversees its property portions according to the US government, and Christy Jnr who is involved in the financial aspect of the gang.
While there is no extradition treaty between Ireland and the UAE, sources cited the recent removal of a Dutch criminal from Dubai – wanted in the Netherlands which also has no treaty with the Middle Eastern country – as a means to bring them back.
Gardaí have also secured a European Arrest Warrant for Sean McGovern (36) – a senior lieutenant and adviser of Kinahan – who was shot and injured during the Regency Hotel gun attack in 2016.
Gardaí want to charge him with the 2016 murder of Noel ‘Duck Egg’ Kirwan, and for his role in the failed conspiracy to murder Hutch associate James ‘Mago’ Gately in Belfast.
Claire Cronin, the US Ambassador to Ireland, yesterday announced a $5m (€4.6m) reward for key information leading to the Kinahan gang being dismantled.
She said the gang was accused of a wide range of heinous crimes around the world.
The sanctions imposed on the Kinahan hierarchy restrain them from conducting business in the US and have been described by Garda Commissioner Drew Harris as potentially dealing a “crippling blow” to the gang.
Mr Harris said the sanctions and rewards were only the “first phase” in a plan to dismantle the Kinahan crime group.
He added that, from now, the gang would be running out of money, friends, and influence.
The next phases of the operation are expected to include police forces from Northern Ireland, Spain, the Netherlands and Australia.
Yesterday’s announcement follows unprecedented international co-operation initiated by Assistant Commissioner John O’Driscoll.
It followed the Regency Hotel murder and backlash of the Kinahan cartel during which more than a dozen people were shot dead.
Since then, gardaí from the Drugs and Organised Crime Bureau have seized €20m worth of drugs directly linked to the cartel as well as €7.5m in cash, while 79 people connected to the gang have been convicted by the courts.
All three of the Kinahan hierarchy are suspected of using fraudulent travel documents, offences that gardaí are currently investigating.
Three other associates of the gang were also sanctioned. They are cartel “accountant” Ian Dixon (32), who controls financial payments for the gang, Bernard Clancy (44) who organises wage payments, and Spanish-based John Morrissey (61), who is described as an enforcer and facilitates drug shipments from South America.