26/05/2010

'Drug Lord' Held In Gangster's Playground

A convicted Irish drug dealer has been arrested in a paradisiacal Spanish resort as part of a far-reaching investigation.

Christy Kinahan, a 53-year-old father of three from Dublin was arrested during synchronized raids in Spain, Ireland, the UK, Brazil and Belgium beginning at 4.30am yesterday.

Some 34 people were being held last night, including 10 Irish nationals, in Spain, England and Ireland and a number of searches were conducted. Kinahan was arrested in an apartment near the paradise resort of Marbella in southern Spain.

Kinahan is currently being questioned by police in Spain after his arrest and that of 33 other people in an international operation involving 700 police officers in five countries.

Garda members from Gardaí National Drug Unit were based in Spain and UK for the duration of the operation, working closely with law enforcement officers from Spain and the UK together with a representative from Europol.

Commenting on the investigation, the Garda Commissioner Fachtna Murphy said: "This is an extensive and focused investigation into organised criminal activity targeting drug trafficking, money laundering and firearms crime.

Over a significant period of time An Garda Síochána has engaged in the highest levels of cooperation and partnership with law enforcement colleagues in a number of key countries including the Spanish National Police, SOCA in the United Kingdom and the Belgians culminating in today's operation."

The Commissioner added: "The message from the operation is clear: there is no hiding place for those who seek to bring misery and hurt to communities here in Ireland and abroad.

"If people choose to trade drugs and death across borders, police will work together across those same borders to address that challenge and disrupt criminal activity."

SOCA's Trevor Pearce said the scale of the joint operation by law enforcement agencies from so many countries was an indication of how prolific the particular network is believed to be.

(DW/GK)

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