Belfast Telegraph

Friday 26 December 2014

INLA link to huge cannabis shipment

Gardai have seized a substantial drugs shipment which they say is linked to members of the INLA.

The cannabis consignment was intercepted by officers from the Garda National Drugs Unit following a lengthy operation.



Gardai are satisfied that a number of those involved are INLA activists and include one man whose record as a dissident activist is well known to detectives.



The find is the latest evidence of connections between the various dissident groups and drug trafficking.



Anti-terrorist officers have been building a dossier on the role played by members of the Real IRA faction formerly led by Alan Ryan in profiteering from drug deals.



Ryan had consistently claimed that he and his group were attempting to eliminate dealing in Dublin by attacking those they believed were behind the importation of drugs.



But garda evidence indicated that their real motive was to put pressure on the organised crime gangs to hand over a slice of their profits to Ryan's gang.



Resistance by some of the main gang bosses resulted in a bloody feud, which ratcheted up in September last year when a major drugs facilitator, Michael "Mica" Kelly, was shot dead by the Real IRA.



The terrorists continued to put pressure on traffickers and on those involved in security rackets at pubs and clubs.



This prompted a small group of gang leaders to organise a "hit" on Ryan, who was shot dead three months ago.



Two of those leaders went into hiding but the Real IRA retaliated last week by ordering the shooting of their mentor, Eamon Kelly.



Members of the INLA have been involved in "ordinary" crime in Dublin for more than a decade. The seizure of this shipment has confirmed that they are still highly active.

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