BOMB’S DISPOSAL |
Cops found €580k ‘Aladdin’s Cave’ of designer goods in Thomas ‘Bomber’ Kavanagh’s home raid
Half a million worth of designer goods and £40,000 (€46,000) in cash found in Bomber Kavanagh’s home
19th December 2022
Anti-gangland cops seized an Aladdin’s Cave of designer goods worth more than €500k after they burst into the gated mansion of Thomas ‘Bomber’ Kavanagh in Birmingham.
The stunning haul included:
- One hundred pairs of designer heels;
- 120 handbags;
- 36 pairs of Armani jeans;
- lines of Hugo Boss suits;
- closets full of Canada Goose and Moncler jackets;
- and drawers full of expensive watches and jewellery.
The clothing and jewellery alone is estimated to have been worth Stg£500,000 and is one of the largest ever seizures of personal items nabbed from a domestic home in a National Crime Agency investigation.
Cash in the region of Stg£40,000 was also found stashed around the house, stuffed into the back of the sofa and in a variety of Moschino, Gucci and Chanel handbags.
Investigators in the UK are also sifting through receipted purchases believed to be worth hundreds of thousands and recorded on high-end designer store cards where points were saved for discounts and access to services like personal shoppers.
The stash will form a small portion of the National Crime Agency (NCA) Proceeds of Crime investigation against Kavanagh which follows the sensational takedown of his organisation earlier this year.
This week, a Virgin Media documentary, Fall of Bomber Kavanagh, will detail how the Garda’s National Drug and Organised Crime Bureau (GNDOCB) along with the NCA teamed up to take down the man named as Daniel Kinahan’s top operator and the number two in the cartel.
The documentary will hear Detective Chief Superintendent Seamus Boland of the GNDOCB describe how the conviction of Kavanagh is directly related to the slowdown in the gangland murder rate in Ireland.
“I’ve been working in An Garda Siochana and involved in investigating and targeting organised crime for 33 years now, and in my career Thomas ‘Bomber’ Kavanagh is the most significant conviction I’ve seen,” he says.
“When I was talking to National Crime Association colleagues in the early days of the investigation I was highlighting to them that it was our assessment that Thomas Kavanagh and his group being brought to justice could impact the threat level in this jurisdiction and the number of murders in this jurisdiction.
“I don’t think it is by pure chance that for the last number of years the level of organised crime murders has dropped dramatically.
“So, I think that is the level of impact that convicting someone like Thomas Kavanagh makes – a man who ruled by fear. People who achieve that level of influence in organised crime, that Thomas Kavanagh had, have to become the priority for law enforcement.”
‘Bomber’ was once the most powerful crime lord in Ireland and he controlled the UK distribution of Daniel Kinahan’s drugs. A search in Dublin in January 2017 marked the beginning of the end for his empire, which used a network of lieutenant money launderers without criminal conviction and seemingly ordinary companies.
The documentary will follow the trail of paper from a premises in Greenogue Industrial Estate, Rathcoole, Co Dublin – raided in 2017 – all the way to the UK midlands and to ‘Bomber’ Kavanagh’s door.
The premises were targeted after the funeral of David Byrne when Kavanagh featured so prominently in a ‘Godfather’ role.
“Thomas Kavanagh was well known to gardai at that point in time and I think it was obvious to anybody that watched the aftermath of the Regency Hotel attack and the funeral of David Byrne that he held a very prominent position where a message was clearly being given, you know that he was in charge of the organisation.
“This was his brother-in-law who was after being murdered, of course,” says Detective Chief Superintendent Boland.
He goes on to describe the murderous role that Kavanagh took on after the Regency attack, which is currently the subject of a trial in the Special Criminal Court.
“Our investigations identified Thomas Kavanagh having some very significant meetings. Some of the people he was meeting were subsequently convicted of serious criminal activity surrounding targeting people for murder in the course of the Kinahan-Hutch feud, so Thomas Kavanagh absolutely was a person of critical importance in the course of that feud.”
It was a raid targeting Kavanagh’s ‘Mr Nobody’, Declan Brady, his logistics man, which would condemn Bomber to prison.
He was arrested when officers raided the industrial premises in Saggart, Co Dublin, and found an arsenal of guns, ammunition as well as documents linking back to Kavanagh’s UK operation.
“Declan Brady originally comes from the Drimnagh area and we knew that he was a childhood friend of Kavanagh’s. At face value, he looked like somebody who wasn’t involved in criminality.
“He wouldn’t have been interacting with the gardai or law enforcement on a daily basis, and to most people who would have known him or lived around him, Brady seemed like a legitimate business operator who worked in logistics companies for years.
“But Declan Brady personifies the facilitators and enablers who assist organised crime gangs and without whom they cannot operate. So he played a very, very important role in that organisation and we’d be quite satisfied that is a role he held for the Kinahan Organised Crime Group for along number of years,” says Boland.
Deputy Director Matt Horne, from the NCA, describes how UK police worked with their Irish counterparts – using documents seized from Greenogue – that led to a massive drug seizure in Dover and to senior members of his gang. He describes how a tracker device found with the drugs in Dover led officers to probe countless other drug shipments
He said: “Clearly an investigation like this is not just about the offending and the drug trafficking; we are also interested in following the money and stripping them of their ill gotten gains.
“So we are now doing a financial investigation into what proceeds of crime this group have acquired so we can take that into the court and seek it to be recovered for the public purse.”
Kavanagh was sentenced in March to 21 years in prison, along with his co-conspirators Gary Vickery and Daniel Canning.
- Fall of Bomber Kavanagh is on Virgin Media 1 on Wednesday at 9pm