INVESTIGATORS are probing if the Kinahan cartel masterminded the €9.8million shipment of cocaine, heroin and cannabis sniffed out by Customs springer spaniel Robbie at Dublin Port.
The Irish Sun can reveal Revenue and the Garda National Drugs and Organised Crime Bureau believe only a small number of Irish based transnational gangs had the “capability and logistical support” to organise such a huge smuggling operation.
Among those in the frame are Daniel Kinahan’s mob, the ‘Family’ run by Brian Grendon, the gang run by ‘Mr Big’, a gang operating in Cork and border based gangs involved in serious crime.
The shipment – which originated from Rotterdam Port in Holland – included €4.3million worth of cocaine, €3million worth of heroin and €1.5m worth of cannabis herb.
Around €800,000 worth of cannabis resin and €60,000 worth of ketamine was also seized by Revenue from a container.
The drugs were hidden inside foot-stools inside a container shipped to the capital.
They were discovered after Revenue officials used their mobile x-ray scanner and sniffer dog Robbie.
Following the discovery, investigators swooped on a warehouse in Rathcoole, west Dublin, and discovered €600,000 worth of rolling tobacco.
Although no arrests were made, the hunt is on now to track the gang who arranged the shipment.
It’s not clear if the drugs were destined for the Irish market or the UK.
As part of their efforts to identify the mob, Revenue and Gardai will work closely with their colleagues at Europol and also Dutch police.
One investigator from Holland told us how the Kinahan cartel were in the frame for every big shipment that comes from Holland to Ireland because of their strong association to the region.
They said: “The Kinahan cartel has had a long association with Holland and continues to have many associates in this country.
“We were obviously worried the Kinahan and Hutch feud could lead to violence in Holland but we are also conscious of their role in Europe’s drug trafficking trade.
“If huge amounts of drugs are being sent to Ireland from Holland in well organised smuggling operations then the Kinahan cartel, along with other gangs, will obviously feature.”
Mick Gilligan, head of Customs’ drug law enforcement, described Wednesday’s seizure as “significant”.
He said: “There are only a small number of organised crime groups in Ireland who would have the logistical capability to arrange such a shipment.
“It’s significant because of the volume and variety of drugs contained within one shipment.
“We are trying to identify groups who may have been behind arranging similar shipments containing a variety of drugs.
“I think this seizure also illustrates how drug trafficking can be used to fund other forms of criminality such as tobacco smuggling.”
Investigators in Holland will also seek to establish who arranged the shipment and if a bogus company was established to facilitate it.
They will also seek to establish if drug gangs from Colombia, Bolivia and Peru were involved in smuggling cocaine to Holland.
The huge seizure comes after the EU’s Serious Organised Crime Threat Assessment found that “significant quantities” of cocaine were being transported to Europe by South American crime gangs who were using ex-pats from their own countries to arrange shipments.