Cartel boss Daniel Kinahan, increasingly isolated in his palatial desert hideout in Dubai, has far bigger problems than An Garda Síochána. The leader of the Kinahan cartel, one of the world’s most powerful drug empires, was given a hammer blow last week when his top lieutenant and friend, Thomas “Bomber” Kavanagh, was sentenced to 21 years in prison in England.
avanagh was jailed along with two associates for his role in importing €36m worth of cocaine on behalf of the cartel. Bomber, who has been appointed captain of the Kinahan cartel in Britain by the National Crime Agency (NCA), is just the latest in a long list of senior figures in the gang to be jailed.
In fact, more than 50 members of the cartel are now behind bars for a range of crimes, from murder to drug trafficking and everything in between. But while his henchmen fall, Daniel Kinahan remains seemingly untouchable in the United Arab Emirates.
Salting the wounds of his foot soldiers, the cartel leader takes very public steps to distance himself from crime and reassert himself as a legitimate businessman in the form of a boxing promoter. But the Dubliner has trouble simmering in the upper echelons of his drug cartel.
Having gardaí and other police forces on his tail is just a long-standing inconvenience — Kinahan’s real problem is being separated from his gang. That split is causing disagreements, senior security sources say Sunday independentand An Garda Síochána is trying to capitalize on it to ensnare the 44-year-old.
“It’s not a state secret. Gardaí are doing everything in their power to extradite Daniel Kinahan from Dubai. It is proving problematic, mainly due to the lack of an extradition treaty between our countries.
“But there’s a lot of work going on behind the scenes in recent years to bring him home because there’s enough to charge him with crimes here.
“But it clearly hasn’t happened yet. Meanwhile, Gardaí tries to use Daniel’s breakup with his gang against him. To be clear, we’re looking for allies who can turn against him. Those efforts are intensifying.”
To use criminal parlance, are there rats in the Kinahan camp?
“That would be a state secret for obvious reasons. But let’s put it this way, Daniel has been away from this country for so long and the majority of his first lieutenants are either jailed or dead,” the source said.
“He’s been removed from the drug scene in Ireland, both physically and metaphorically, for many years and that’s a problem. Are his most important men loyal? A lot of his so-called captains are now guys he doesn’t really know, didn’t grow up with because he’s been away from this island for so long. So to whom are these men—and men are always—loyal?
“There was always fear for the cartel, its reach and impact. Everyone saw the Kinahans destroy the Hutches. But the landscape might change. An Garda Síochána will use everything in his arsenal to crush the Kinahan cartel. This includes attempts to get criminals to take revenge.”
An Garda Síochána is on record, outlining the force’s determination to bring the Kinahan Cartel and its leader to their knees. Almost two years ago, in June 2020, Deputy Commissioner John O’Driscoll outlined his intention to dismantle the gang, which is estimated to be worth around one billion euros.
Without naming Daniel Kinahan, the senior official who heads the Drugs and Organized Crime Bureau (DOCB), he didn’t pull a punch though.
Speaking at a news conference, Mr O’Driscoll said he was confident Garda would be able to bring the top of the gang hierarchy to justice.
Gardaí believe their best chance of success in pursuing Kinahan is to link him to conspiring to murder rival James Gately.
There is also evidence linking him to the foiled plot to murder Patsy Hutch in north central Dublin in 2018. The Deputy Commissioner’s comments almost two years ago came against the backdrop of Daniel Kinahan’s attempts to establish himself as a legitimate figure in professional boxing.
“There has been much argument from senior gardaí about bringing Kinahan to justice. But it hasn’t happened yet,” a separate source said.
“One of the main obstacles to Kinahan’s extradition is his whereabouts in Dubai. Ireland does not have an extradition treaty with the United Arab Emirates.
“It’s a problem for sure, but there’s a lot of secret DOCB stuff going on behind the scenes. There has been much talk of extraditing Daniel to Ireland. Talking is talking. We are all waiting for action.”
Mr O’Driscoll said in 2020 that Gardaí had dispatched representatives to several countries, including the Middle East, as part of ongoing investigations into the cartel, although he declined to be more specific.
“Although I may not name names until criminal charges are brought, when we gather such evidence to bring forward criminal charges, it clearly targets the hierarchy of individuals in these criminal groups,” he said. “Our ultimate goal is to dismantle the entire criminal group.”
The Senior Guard’s comments are not without context.
After all, Kinahan is banned from the USA as a “drug terrorist”, charged with a murder order in Spain and convicted here by the High Court as head of an international crime syndicate.
2018, A Spanish police officer told a court in Marbella, where Daniel was stationed for several years, that he ordered the 2015 killing of Costa del Sol gang rival Gary Hutch.
In April 2020, a Garda told the Special Criminal Court that the Kinahan gang was a sophisticated organization who ordered the murder of another rival, Patrick Hutch.
Despite all this, the cartel boss does everything in his power to whitewash his past. He continues to seek legitimacy on the world boxing stage, with varying degrees of success.
The wheels started to loosen in 2020 when heavyweight boxing champ Tyson Fury gave Kinahan an unwise call.
In June 2020, Fury uploaded a video to his Instagram account announcing a two-fight deal between himself and unified world champion Anthony Joshua.
“I’m on the phone right now with Daniel Kinahan,” he told his millions of followers. “He just informed me that the biggest fight in British boxing history has just been arranged.”
Fury also sent a “huge thank you to Dan” who said he “literally got that done”.
This endorsement by one of the world’s most well-known boxing figures sent shockwaves through official Ireland, where the media often highlights the murderous activities of the Kinahan cartel.
Within weeks of Fury’s glowing praise, the boxer quietly dropped Daniel as his negotiator for the fight following a political and media outcry in Ireland.
But the public discourse did not lead to any meaningful action in terms of the Garda success in extraditing the cartel boss.
And since then, Kinahan has continued his quest for legitimacy as a businessman and is regularly photographed with some of boxing’s biggest names.
In conversation with the Irish Independent‘S Ken Foy last year, just before the fifth anniversary of the Regency Hotel attack, claimed Daniel Kinahan that he was not involved in the organized crime.
He continues to protest his innocence in the media. Two weeks ago, a podcast interview with the cartel boss was pulled because of “legal problems”.
The drug lord met James English in Dubai for a three-hour talk that was due to be released on St Patrick’s Day.
In a preview clip, Kinahan recalled how Hutch gunmen killed him just yards during the infamous Dublin hotel attack, and also claimed the media was “fixing everything.”
Meanwhile, the Criminal Assets Bureau has been following Kinahan in a case opening evidence against the Dubliner in the High Court next month.
“Daniel has fended off these Garda attempts to bring him to justice for years,” added a well-informed source.
“That’s not his main concern.
“His primary concern is ebbing loyalty and the potential for his own gang to fight back.”
https://www.independent.ie/irish-news/crime/chasing-the-kinahans-a-mole-in-the-disaffected-ranks-of-the-cartel-might-be-what-gardai-need-to-end-mob-reign-41515245.html Hunt down the Kinahans: A mole in the cartel’s disaffected ranks may be what the Gardaí need to end the mob’s rule