HomeNewsSanctions Against Ireland's Top Drug Trafficker May End 'Super Cartel' Allegations
NEWS

Sanctions Against Ireland's Top Drug Trafficker May End 'Super Cartel' Allegations

COCAINE / 19 APR 2022 BY ALESSANDRO FORD EN

Recent sanctions imposed by the United States on the Kinahan Clan, arguably Ireland’s most powerful organized crime group, have brought to the fore this group’s role in cocaine trafficking between South America, the United States, Europe and beyond.  

On April 11, the US Treasury Department designated Irish national Daniel Kinahan and six of his associates for smuggling cocaine from South America to Europe as part of the powerful drug trafficking syndicate known as the “Kinahan Clan,” among other things.

“Daniel Kinahan, who sources large quantities of cocaine from South America, plays an integral part in organizing the supply of drugs in Ireland, and is attempting to facilitate the importation of cocaine into the United Kingdom,” according to a Treasury Department press release.  

The same day, an interview was published by Irish media in which Colombia’s Vice President Marta Lucía Ramírez expressed concern over the mounting presence of European drug traffickers in her country, including the Kinahan group.

SEE ALSO: Ireland Seizures Highlight Growing Role in Cocaine Trade

Ireland and Colombia have significantly tightened their collaboration on criminal issues in recent months, especially after revelations came to light about Kinahan’s involvement in the Latin American drug trade.

In March, Irish leader Leo Varadkar signed a new security agreement with Colombia to fight drug trafficking, while last December, the Irish government approved a police request to begin a formal information exchange with Colombian law enforcement. Ireland has also had a senior detective deployed to Bogotá for well over a year, investigating the Kinahan Clan’s presence in Colombia.

In December 2021, InSight Crime first reported on Daniel Kinahan’s suspected involvement in a string of cocaine seizures in Ireland. Revelations about the Kinahan presence in Colombia came to light shortly after Colombia arrested one of its most-wanted men, Dairo Antonio Úsuga, alias “Otoniel,” the head of the Urabeños drug trafficking group.

Allegations surfaced of a so-called “Super Cartel,” made up of drug traffickers in Colombia, Ireland, Chile, Bosnia, Morocco, the Netherlands, and Italy, including the Kinahan Clan, Urabeños, infamous Dutch mobster Ridouan Taghi and the Camorra mafia, according to media reports from around the world. However, it is very difficult to ascertain to what extent such relationships were organized or existed beyond specific drug deals.

InSight Crime Analysis

Daniel Kinahan’s sanctioning contains several key lessons for European cocaine traffickers and brokers in Latin America.

Firstly, close alliances may not always work out. Some criminal partnerships, such as that between Italy’s ‘Ndrangheta and Brazil’s First Capital Command (Primeiro Comando da Capital – PCC), have stood the test of time.

The alleged Super Cartel, on the other hand, has not. This rumored international alliance, the real extent of which is open for speculation, may have been a successful example of “crowdsourcing” the drug trade, with different actors across Europe and Latin America pooling their money in order to achieve cheaper wholesale prices and reduce each buyer’s individual exposure.

SEE ALSO: Enduring Italians, Ambitious Albanians - How Cocaine is Changing Europe's Criminal Landscape

However, this risks one arrest starting a domino effect. The arrests of Kinahan’s Dutch-Moroccan partner in 2016 and Dutch-Chilean partner in 2017 provided European law enforcement with new evidence and impetus to locate, detain and extradite the Irish gangster.

Secondly, sending brokers to Latin America is fraught with risk, as Kinahan learned. In 2017, a suspected Kinahan associate was murdered and dumped in a ravine near Medellín. This hit was reportedly carried out by the Oficina, formerly known as the Oficina de Envigado, in retaliation for a seized drug load.

Thirdly, know how to diversify supply. In 2017, Irish media reported over half of Kinahan’s cocaine stream may have been cut off when his associate, alias “El Rico,” was arrested in Chile, forcing him to rely more heavily on an alternate source in “northern Colombia” – likely a reference to the Urabeños. However, he was soon procuring significant quantities of cocaine from Peru as well, where prosecutors are targeting his collaborators.

share icon icon icon

Was this content helpful?

We want to sustain Latin America’s largest organized crime database, but in order to do so, we need resources.

DONATE

What are your thoughts? Click here to send InSight Crime your comments.

We encourage readers to copy and distribute our work for non-commercial purposes, with attribution to InSight Crime in the byline and links to the original at both the top and bottom of the article. Check the Creative Commons website for more details of how to share our work, and please send us an email if you use an article.

Was this content helpful?

We want to sustain Latin America’s largest organized crime database, but in order to do so, we need resources.

DONATE

Related Content

COCAINE / 23 MAR 2022

The United States government has ramped up its pursuit of one of Guatemala’s most enduring drug clans – the so-called…

COCAINE / 7 JUL 2022

When brothers Seth and Roberto Paisano Wood were released from prison and returned to their hometown of Brus Laguna, in…

COCAINE / 2 DEC 2020

Authorities in Guatemala have arrested seven individuals, among them four police officers, accused of belonging to a criminal organization…

About InSight Crime

LA ORGANIZACIÓN

Extensive Coverage of our Chronicles of a Cartel Bodyguard

23 SEP 2022

Our recent investigation, A Cartel Bodyguard in Mexico’s 'Hot Land', has received extensive media coverage.

THE ORGANIZATION

InSight Crime, American University Host Illegal Fishing Panel

19 SEP 2022

InSight Crime and the Center for Latin American & Latino Studies (CLALS) at American University discussed the findings of a joint investigation on IUU fishing at a September 9 conference.

THE ORGANIZATION

Impact on the Media Landscape

9 SEP 2022

InSight Crime’s first investigation on the Dominican Republic made an immediate impact on the Dominican media landscape, with major news outlets republishing and reprinting our findings, including in …

THE ORGANIZATION

InSight Crime Sharpens Its Skills

2 SEP 2022

Last week, the InSight Crime team gathered for our annual retreat in Colombia, where we discussed our vision and strategy for the next 12 months.  During the week, we also learned how to…

THE ORGANIZATION

Colombia’s Fragile Path to Peace Begins to Take Shape

26 AUG 2022

InSight Crime is charting the progress of President Gustavo Petro’s agenda as he looks to revolutionize Colombia’s security policy, opening dialogue with guerrillas, reforming the military and police, and…