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Irish crime bosses in hot water following major jump in drug and cash seizures worth €135m

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Gardai and customs investigators delivered a €135million hammer blow to Irish crime bosses this year.

An Irish Mirror analysis has established that gardai and Revenue teams have so far made a massive 189 seizures of cash and drugs over €50,000.

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Of those 21 resulted in hauls valued at €1million or more.

That’s almost triple the estimated €47million in cocaine, heroin, cannabis and hard cash seized from criminals in the whole of last year.

And nearly four times the €35million taken from crime gangs in 2019.

A source said last night: “It has been a fantastic year.

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“Units all over the country are out the door, everyone is very busy.”

The source also said the huge spike in seizures was putting pressure on mob bosses behind drugs importation scams.

Among those impacted are believed to be alleged cartel leader Daniel Kinahan.

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The source said: “The main men are all out of pocket because of the seizures this year.

“They had to fork out millions to pay for the consignments from their suppliers and once the drugs are caught, they have no way back.

“They still have to pay for them in the first place and cannot recoup their investment on the streets.”

The Irish Mirror examined all seizures of cash and drugs announced by gardai and Customs since the start of the year after sources told us there had been a major increase in drugs taken off the streets.

There were more than 250 seizures all in – but some were of small amounts.

However, 189 separate seizures made so far this year were of more than €50,000 and their total value was just over €135 million.

Sources said the increased amount of seizures was down to the Garda Drugs and Organised Crime Bureau having better intelligence on the gangs.

There was increased cooperation with international law enforcement.

But they also said gardai had been given a treasure trove of intelligence on Irish drug dealers thanks to the cracking of two encrypted phone services.

Gangsters used Encrochat and An0m to talk securely to each other and plan murders and drugs shipments.

But both those services have been cracked by law enforcement in the past 18 months.

The FBI cracked An0m earlier this year and French, Dutch and Europol investigators broke Encrochat in early 2020.

Some countries, especially the UK, have opted to use the data as hard evidence in court cases.

But gardai have decided it is better to have them as an intelligence tools – and sources said that is one of the main reasons for the spike in seizures here.

The seizures started in the first weeks of 2021 with the capture of €1million in cash by the Drugs and Organised Crime Bureau (DOCB) in an operation on the M7 in Co Kildare on January 8.

There have been 20 other major interceptions since then.

Just last month DOCB and Revenue seized cocaine, heroin and cannabis that had been shipped into Dublin Port in a container by a coalition of criminals who had pooled their money to buy the drugs in Europe.

The same tactic was used by the gangs – including the Kinahan cartel – when they tried to smuggle a massive €35 million worth of cocaine into Ireland hidden in charcoal in July, but that was also intercepted.

And the criminals also lost €12 million worth of cocaine when it was intercepted at Ringaskiddy Port in Co Cork in February.

Sources said gangs were increasingly pooling their resources to bring in multi-million-euro consignments of drugs.

They believe it is easier and safer to bring in one large shipment, as opposed to several smaller ones.

But that new tactic has seen several large consignments intercepted by gardai and is another reason for the spike in value of seizures.

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