The Kinahan Cartel started a new so-called franchise system in Ireland based on the use of people, Irish and foreign, who were previously unknown to An Garda Sióchána.
Gardaí believe the drug distribution center discovered last week in Co Kilkenny, disguised as a food company, was an example of the new tactics being deployed by the cartel as it tries to continue its wholesale drug operations in Ireland .
Detectives were surprised by the extent of the effort to cover up drug trafficking within a registered company, and the suspects in the case were previously unknown to Republic law enforcement.
Cannabis worth 6.9 million euros was discovered in the business premises, which the Gardaí said served as a hub to receive and then redistribute drugs from the cartel, led by Christopher Kinahan Snr and his associates. sons Daniel and Christopher Jnr.
The cartel had reduced its activities in Ireland after years of intense pressure from the Garda, with many of its members and allies imprisoned in the Republic, while others fled the country. This Garda operation, since the Kinahan-Hutch feud erupted in 2015, has effectively seen the Crumlin-based organized crime group Byrne wiped out in Ireland.
As this group had acted as the receiver and distributor of cartel drugs for the Irish market, its absence forced the Kinahans to reinvent their model in the Republic. The cartel engaged in a cost-cutting exercise by cutting out some of the mid-level Irish drug dealers it supplied, as many of those numbers were now so well known after years of Garda attention and medias.
And it has now begun efforts to rejuvenate itself by using Irish and foreigners with clean criminal records as franchisees. Gardaí has now uncovered evidence in several operations of people with no criminal record, or no established criminal record in organized drug trafficking, working for the cartel as franchisees.
This effectively means that they operate in small groups, allied to the cartel without being insiders, and who actually receive drug shipments, which are then broken down and distributed to other drug gangs.
Garda sources said the cartel’s network of Irish members and allies was now so well known that many of them were no longer of any value to the cartel in Ireland. As a result, they were now “bypassed” by the cartel leadership for the benefit of strangers in the Republic.
Separately, Garda Commissioner Drew Harris said last week that the Kinahan cartel would show “resilience” in the face of international law enforcement efforts now directed at it. He said the prosecution of the cartel would be “relentless” and would last for years.
He added that the Garda was now working with “trusted” law enforcement partners in their efforts to bring the Dubai-based cartel leaders to justice. Mr Harris said since US law enforcement announced financial sanctions against Christopher Kinahan Snr and his two sons Daniel and Christopher Jnr in April, a greater flow of intelligence was being shared with the Irish force by the forces. of the international order.