Drug Cartel Lords and Masters…imagine in one year to launder £200 million; imagine what the real amount is. They fund illegal drugs but they absolutely nothing for the drug addicts.

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Kinahan-linked suspect arrested in Spain ‘believed to have laundered €200m’ in just over a year- 1h ago

A SENIOR MEMBER of the Kinahan crime gang who has been arrested in Spain is believed to have been involved in laundering €200 million in just over one year, Europol has said. 

John Francis Morrissey has been accused of acting as an enforcer for the Kinahans facilitating the shipment of drugs from South America.

The 62-year-old was arrested this week in the south of Spain, where the Kinahan gang was primarily based for many years before moving operations to Dubai.

It is reported that Morrissey appeared in court yesterday for a judgement on whether or not he would be granted bail. 

Europol alleged Morrissey “and his associates were in charge of collecting large amounts of cash from criminal organisations which they would then ‘deliver’ to other criminal organisations in other countries.”

“The main suspect was considered a high-value target by Europol for his involvement in a number of high-profile criminal cases throughout Europe.

“Earlier in April of this year, this person and his company were designated by the US Department of the Treasury for providing support to the Kinahan clan,” the EU’s law enforcement agency said.

Senior Kinahan cartel member John Morrissey arrested in south of Spain

Three people have been arrested in Spain and one in England as part of the operation after 11 searches in both countries

Several vehicles have been seized along with cash, documents and electronic devices.

Vodka brand

Using the so-called hawala underground banking system, which works on the base of face-to-face transactions, “it is believed that the suspects have laundered over 200 million euros using this method,” Europol said.

It said the main members of the organisation in Spain had created a brand of vodka promoted in nightclubs and restaurants in the Costa del Sol to disguise the source of their earnings.

In a similar fashion, they had founded a company in the UK in order to hide the true identity of the administrators of the companies that were being used to launder the illegal profits using the hawala system.

An investigation that was carried out by a Malaga-based Organised Crime Team of the Guardia Civil’s Central Operational Unit began in 2021 when 200 kilograms of cocaine and nearly €500,000 in cash concealed in vehicles were seized in the Malaga province.

Speaking about the Spanish operation, Garda Assistant Commissioner Paul Cleary in Organised and Serious Crime said that the “actions that have taken place over the past few days in Spain highlight the resilience and determination of international law enforcement to combine our resources to disrupt and dismantle criminal networks”.

Images provided by the Guardia Civil

“An Garda Síochána will continue to work closely with all our international partners, targeting transnational organised crime gangs who profit from drug trafficking and impact so negatively on our society and in particular those networks that cause the most harm to our communities here in Ireland,” Cleary said.

US sanctions

Earlier this year, the US imposed sanctions on Morrissey along with six other members of the gang as part of an international effort to apprehend its leading figures.

The US Office of Foreign Assets Control said Morrissey was accused of money laundering and serving as the organisation’s enforcer and facilitator of illicit drug shipments from South America.

Greg Gatjanis, one of several US officials who spoke at a briefing in Dublin City Hall in April, described the cartel as a global criminal enterprise with “tentacles spreading across many countries”.

The sanctions barred US banks and companies from doing business with the seven individuals, as well as three businesses named by the US Treasury Department, and they were banned from boarding US airlines.

Law enforcement agencies also announced multi-million euro rewards for information leading to the arrest of Christy Kinahan Senior, the founder of the cartel, and his sons Christy Kinahan Junior and Daniel Kinahan.

Additional reporting from Céimin Burke

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