A woman, aged 24, was sleeping on her bed when members of the Drugs and Organised Crime Bureau (DOCB) raided her home in Drumcondra, north Dublin, yesterday morning.
The woman and five men aged between 27 and 31 were arrested on suspicion of money laundering in relation to the trafficking of cocaine into Australia and New Zealand.
The grouping is connected to the Kinahan crime cartel and is known to be also supplying “upper echelons” of society and “celebrities” here.
The group is mainly from the Ballymun area and its leader was arrested last month as part of the same operation. His mother was known for a long time as a heroin dealer.
The arrests took place in Drumcondra, Finglas, Artane, and Swords, all in north Dublin.
Gardaí had been looking for documentation linked to the international trafficking and had not expected to come across the consignment of cash.
Speaking to the Irish Examiner, Assistant Commissioner of Special Crime Operations, John O’Driscoll, said the operation was an “ongoing” one led by the Garda DOCB in conjunction with Australian Federal Police.
“It is believed that some of these [those arrested] may have been at various stages in Australia,” he said.
He confirmed that the six people arrested are being held in relation to suspected money laundering related to drug trafficking in Australia.
He said gardaí suspected that the supply of drugs in this operation was going to criminal gangs rather than to street dealers.
Mr O’Driscoll said that while some people might consider that it is “extraordinary” for an Irish gang to the trafficking drugs to the other side of the world, he pointed out that there is a long-established and relatively large Irish community in Australia.
He said this includes a significant percentage of young people among whom there would be recreational drugs users.
He said it is not really unexpected that Irish traffickers might be supplying this population.
“It is suspected that Irish nationals are involved to a significant extent in this organised crime group,” said Mr O’Driscoll.
“There may be Australians involved as well, but the Irish nationals feature significantly.”
He said the supply of cocaine may have been “to a disproportionate extent” to buyers of an Irish background, but that native Australians would also have been supplied.
He confirmed that the potential of a link to the Kinahan organised crime group is “part of the investigation” and that the inquiries will try to establish the extent of the linkages.
Separate Garda sources confirmed the link and said the gang hit was also known to be supplying the “upper echelons” of society here and “celebrities”.
The six people arrested are detained at Coolock, Finglas, Ballymun, and Blanchardstown stations under the provisions of Section 50 of the Criminal Justice (Money Laundering) Act 2007 and the Criminal Justice Act 1984.
Mr O’Driscoll said the investigation was supported by other bureaus within Special Crime Operations and local detective units from the Dublin Metropolitan Region North Division.
He said it is an example of a “significant enhancement in co-operation” both at an international level and within Special Crime Operations and other sections of the organisation, including Garda Security and Intelligence and bodies such as the Criminal Assets Bureau.