The conviction and lengthy prison sentence handed down this week to key Kinahan gang member Thomas “Bomber” Kavanagh is considered extremely significant by gardaí, but the cartel’s activities continue to expand.
o What about the biggest criminal gang in the country?
Sources say the organization, which Gardaí believe is run by Dubai’s Daniel Kinahan, has arranged new routes and hired dozens of different people to transport drugs to Ireland and the UK. It remains a multi-million euro company.
As part of the ongoing Garda operation to take down the cartel, sources hope officers are hoping for the cooperation of senior members of the gang to gather enough evidence to press charges against Daniel Kinahan.
“There is little doubt that the sentences handed down in England this week against ‘Bomber’ Kavanagh and two of his cronies will create tension within this criminal organisation,” a senior source said Irish Independent.
“Kavanagh is not a common criminal in the sense that he was involved in organized crime when Daniel was a child. It’s such a big development for him to be serving such a long sentence.
“And there is hope that with so many key figures locked up, there is hope that an insider in the hierarchy of this organization can become an informant and help bring Daniel back to Ireland where he faces serious charges,” the source added.
Gardaí believe Daniel Kinahan has never been more isolated as he continues his quest to become a “legitimate boxing promoter”.
In January last year, Kinahan told dem Irish Independent He was a legitimate businessman, a proud Irishman and a family man who became the victim of a conspiracy involving the state, the media and gardaí.
However, sources say the fact that “bomber” Kavanagh’s massive drug network has already been replaced by an even more organized system in the UK shows how durable the Kinahan cartel is.
“Since Kavanagh was initially imprisoned for over two years, the organization was able to bounce back quickly. They currently run a drug trafficking network from the North West of England and are even major players in the London drug scene,” a source said.
“They have found new people to work for them and are using new routes, including from places like Portugal.”
One of the networks linked to the Kinahan cartel suffered a serious blow last week when cannabis with a street value of up to €8 million was seized in Spain.
An important employee of the cartel gangster Paul Rice (52) was arrested during the police operation and is still in custody.
It is understood that 400kg of the drug intended for the Irish market was seized during the surveillance operation.
“What happened last week shows how active these people are. They just keep going and of course it’s all about money and the money they’re making is huge,” said a senior source.
And money is what ‘Bomber’ Kavanagh cares about most.
Following his conviction this week, he now faces an investigation into his assets by specialized English police.
He could be forced to pay millions or face more jail time for his criminal assets.
The National Crime Agency (NCA) have obtained freezing orders allowing them to confiscate watches, bicycles, jewelery and Kavanagh’s elegant, ‘heavily fortified’ Tamworth mansion in the English Midlands, estimated to be worth up to €1million.
Facing a 21-year sentence on Monday, Kavanagh hopes to be licensed within eight years, but that’s not certain.
Kavanagh (54) ran a large British criminal network that spanned seven countries and imported drugs worth up to 36 million euros in one year.
He was described in court as “at the head” of a “sophisticated operation” that used heavy machinery to import drugs and export the cash payments back to Europe.
While Kavanagh was sentenced to 21 years in prison, his co-conspirators Daniel Canning and Gary Vickery were sentenced to 19.5 and 20 years, respectively.
As the inner workings of the massive criminal enterprise of antitrust controls were exposed, Ipswich Crown Court heard the Dubliner was codenamed ‘The Gaffer’ by his Irish subordinates – brothers-in-law Vickery, 39, and Canning, 43.
Evidence has also been presented that Kavanagh claims there were others in the hierarchy above him, while his family have concerns the judge may be “unduly influenced” by media interest in the case.
All three admitted to conspiring to import Class A and B drugs into the UK, while Canning was also convicted of an additional charge of gun possession.
The investigation was launched after Gardaí seized a large quantity of firearms and drugs in Dublin in January 2017.
The seizure was directed at Kavanagh’s associate in Ireland, Declan Brady, known as “Mr. Nobody”.
The UK’s National Crime Agency (NCA) was then informed of associated logistics companies in the West Midlands, later linked to Vickery and Canning.
Investigators uncovered a major drug network that used industrial machinery to conceal “huge commercial quantities” of imported drugs before cash payments were returned in the same machines.
Cannabis was labeled with the words “Rolex” and “Manchester United,” while cocaine was labeled “54.”
The gang also used code names with Vickery known as “Jelly”, Canning known as “Smiley”, and another associate, Martin Byrne, known as “Scissors” or “Grumpy”.
Kavanagh used several aliases including “Plasma”, “The Gaffer” and “Mallet”.
The criminal network also used a series of code words on its encrypted devices to disguise its illicit dealings.
Kilos of cocaine were labeled “Phones,” “Ricky,” or “TNT”; Money was called “paper”; while the asphalt stripping machines they used were referred to as “Bens”.
The gang also used code words for various locations, with Spain being referred to as “the hot” while the Netherlands was known as “the flat”.
In March 2017, the gang communicated with about 150 “phones,” which prosecutors claimed were a lead to 150kg of cocaine.
In another delivery, Vickery sent his wife a picture of a group of men, including himself and Kavanagh, from New York, along with the message, “Haha, that’s worth the money.”
When the NCA searched his Tamworth, Staffordshire mansion in January 2019, which had reinforced doors and bulletproof glass, officers found numerous weapons, including an illegal stun gun, for which he was eventually sentenced to three years in prison.
Officers also seized around £35,000 (€41,000) worth of cash in various denominations, including pounds sterling, euros and Emirati dirhams, which had been stuffed into drawers, pockets and the backs of sofa cushions.
Meanwhile, Daniel Kinahan, who was a close associate of Kavanagh, continues to present himself as an international boxing manager and continues to claim he has nothing to do with crime.
That’s despite being photographed in 2016 with “Bomber,” whom the NCA dubbed the captain of Britain’s Kinahan cartel.
Kinahan was named in the Supreme Court as the leader of the family-run drug gang, but so far Gardaí have not been able to gather enough evidence to get a warrant for his arrest.
https://www.independent.ie/irish-news/crime/thomas-bomber-kavanagh-is-finally-behind-bars-but-kinahan-cartel-continues-to-prove-highly-durable-41512770.html Thomas ‘Bomber’ Kavanagh is finally behind bars, but the Kinahan cartel continues to prove extremely durable