SPECIALIST GARDA UNITS have identified a number of senior members of a Chinese triad group running prostitution rings and drug smuggling in areas once controlled by the Dundon gang.
For the last four years, the gang has been moving steadily increasing quantities of drugs around the Munster region. The waning influence of the Dundon gang has seen the triads importing larger volumes of drugs into the area.
Also, human trafficking, drug cultivation and prostitution are also on the rise.
The triads have been operational in Limerick since the 1980s. At that time, they would not have been heavily involved in the drug trade. Instead, they were involved in extortion and gambling rackets.
In 2014, Wayne Dundon and Nathan Killeen were found guilty of the murder of Limerick businessman Roy Collins. The prosecution claimed that Dundon directed the murder while in prison, with Killeen the getaway driver.
A year previously, Wayne’s brother John was convicted of the murder of Shane Geoghegan – an innocent man shot dead as a result of mistaken identity.
Since then, the Dundons had been attempting to continue their drugs operation from prison. However, there has been a serious decline in the number of people willing to work for the killers. This has led to the triad gang being able to control a larger portion of the region’s drug trade than they initially held.
The Limerick triads are working with a number of their international colleagues including triads based in Birmingham.
This gang is in business with a known Kinahan drug supplier who is also based in the West Midlands. Gardaí believe that intelligence about potential Irish growhouse sites is being traded with the triad gangs for a price.
The triads’ previous modus operandi was to extort protection money from legitimate Chinese-owned businesses in the area. However, in recent months the triads have started to bring in larger consignments of drugs. More brothels have also started to go into business in Limerick city – all run by the triads.
In 2012, the then Garda Commissioner Martin Callinan set up Operation Wireless – an initiative which targeted certain gangs operating in Ireland. This resulted in a number of significant arrests. However, the gang continued to operate due to the high level of secrecy and the code of silence to which they adhere.
A number of cannabis growhouses are run by the triads. The people working in them are usually trafficked into Ireland from other drug operations in the UK. There has been a number of large cannabis seizures and arrests in recent months.
Gardaí are finding it difficult to gather enough evidence on the top brass of the triad gangs to bring them to justice due to the unwillingness of those arrested to talk.
However, the Kinahan link is one way in which gardaí feel confident in bringing about convictions of the triads here.
A large amount of electronic data belonging to the cartel has been seized in recent months. A lot of this data is currently in the hands of foreign police forces following a number of large drug raids in Spain, the Netherlands and Chile.
Gardaí have been liaising with their international counterparts and have been told they will be informed of any intelligence relating to Irish crime when technicians discover it.