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This doesn’t work for me

Others are less sure. As someone who has spent more than a decade investigating Kinahan, I’ve come to view his story as not merely one of illicit enterprise; it’s an odyssey of power, learning and ruthless resourcefulness that appears to know no bounds. His stratospheric rise is not an accident: it was driven by greed, daring, the utilisation of violence and an ability to cultivate powerful friends in corrupt regimes and manipulate the international financial sector and the underworld. This is the inside story of how one man built a €1 billion criminal empire.

OK, maybe the empire’s a billion.

It’s hard to overstate the scale of Kinahan’s operation. He and his cartel control much of the cocaine imports into Europe, as well as arms smuggling and money laundering around the world.

If they control much of Europe’s cocaine imports then they’re very much bigger than €1 billion. If they’re €1 billion then they don’t control most of Europe’s cocaine imports.

Thus there’s a limit to how much of this story I’m going to believe.

8 thoughts on “This doesn’t work for me”

  1. I saw a claim the other day that the Italian and Jewish mobsters did better out of Prohibition than the Irish because the latter insisted on over-sampling the goods.

    (The article made no mention of Joe Kennedy. What the secret of his success? Did he just shoot any of his guys who got drunk?)

    Anyway, to the point. Do Kinahan’s merry men over-sample the goods?

    Another point: if a mob such as Mossad or the CIA wanted to stop a gang like this they’d just murder them. They don’t. So should I assume they exploit them in return for offering them protection? Come to think of it, was that the relationship between The Mafia and the CIA back in 1963?

  2. Always difficult to understand money & drugs. Journalists tend to pick up the money law enforcement talk. Which is street price, because it makes their endeavours look more successful. Then value from there. But anyone importing is not selling it street. There’s several retail levels between there & street. I know a bit about the bottom levels because it’s ubiquitous here, it’d be hard no to.
    Let’s start with a gram wrap. That’ll cost 60€, say, depending where you bought it. In the kazi in a club could be more. But that gram is probably cut & underweight. 10 grams will probably make you between 12 & 15 wraps depending on how mug your punters are. So 10 grams could produce 900 on the street
    To buy 10 grams? You wouldn’t be stupid enough to be buying from the asshole selling wraps. Different dealer. The one who supplies him. 10 will cost you 350 so 35/g. That will be pure. I’ve heard it called “cama” by the S. Americans. Doesn’t look anything like the fine powder you see on the movies. Crystaline little rocks. And it will be the weight & pure. Buyers use scales & don’t pay for the plastic. And there’s a couple of simple tests. That dealer will probably supply up to at least 50g from stock with the price getting easier the more bought in one deal.
    More than 50g you really need better contacts. Not people I know of but I’ve heard the price gets nearer 20/g. My guess would somebody landing coca in serious kilos would probably be making around 10k/kilo landed. The margins get smaller because the risk is lower. The stupidity index drops sharply the higher you go. The 1 gram wrap dealers at street level are morons. Disposable, short life assets. But then so are most of their customers.
    Think of it like espionage cell system for the same reasons. There’s a limit to the people you can know & trust. Spread that too wide & someone being caught & sweated will blow you. And the further down the chain you go, the more stupid these people get. So compartmentalisation. Sure, if you’ve got some muscle you could “own” the level below. But these people still have to make similar money or they’ll find another supplier & go independent. It’s more about controlling territories.
    So your billions turn into something more like small hundreds of millions. And they still have to buy the product from the peeps in Colombia & Bolivia, shipping costs & interdiction losses, laundering charges, soldiers etc etc

    My take on it would be this is a bunch of big mouth Paddies & not worth the bother. People who do this sort of thing seriously at that level you’d never hear about.

  3. If you turn over the page you can read about how the cocaine trade is controlled by the ‘Ndrangheta. Another page and it’s the Camorra. Page four is the Albanians. And so on.
    This guy is still alive, therefore he doesn’t know.

  4. Bloke in North Dorset


    AIUI from piecing a few things together.

    Feudalism didn’t end in Italy until the early 19th century and southern Italy was one of the last areas to be freed, for want of a better term. Furthermore the landlords of southern Italy were mostly absent wealthy Romans who paid agents to manage their estates. Obviously a principal/agent problem and the agents didn’t really respect the landlords’ obligations, but they did maintain law and order.

    This had already bread a system of families and villages looking after themselves and not trusting outsiders. When the landlords lost their feudal rights and duties they saw no they saw no need to pay their agents and law and order broke down and villages were basically left to look after themselves, which further strengthened the family/clan system.

    A lot of the Italians from this area were amongst the Italian immigrants who settled in New York and maintained their close contact. When prohibition arrived they had a ready made system of maintaining themselves and distrusting outsiders, which made their illicit alcohol business harder to break.

    The Irish had no such ties, or at least not to the same extent.

  5. I love quietly sitting by the fireside on a cold winters evening and learning from BiS about the way the world’s vice networks operate without having to solicit a single hooker or buy so much as a milligram of cocaine from an Albanian gangster…..

  6. BIS,

    “My take on it would be this is a bunch of big mouth Paddies & not worth the bother. People who do this sort of thing seriously at that level you’d never hear about.”

    I suspect that the most successful drug dealers are deeply in bed with law enforcement. There’s a storyline in Ozark about the FBI working with the cartel, that in exchange for telling the feds about shipments and busting some people that can lead to financial seizures (which of course, the FBI keep) they leave them alone the rest of the time. And it just seems entirely plausible to me, and fits with everyone’s motivations.

    Because anyone with half a brain can see that the war on drugs is unwinnable. It’s supply-led. Not that most cops even care that much. You knock out one gang, another takes it place 5 minutes later. And everyone with half a brain in law enforcement knows that a lot of the information is coming from another gang who just want that gang out of the way. So why work hard on finding and busting little dealers when you can just get a guy who will give up a tiny percentage of his big shipments each month as a tax on his business?

  7. Jim – in your world organised crime consists of litter being chucked into your ditches and hedges . By way of contrast, I cannot get Barclays to confirm a letter of credit from my bank in Nigeria despite my having an email from the Deputy General Manager confirming a USD 18M credit to my account in their ledgers. I can just imagine you reaching for another log with one hand and for the decanter with the other.

  8. @WB
    Oh there’s little doubt law enforcement’s a very blurred area. We had thing here a few years back. Paper’s ran a story about the local Plod having intercepted a ton & a half of marijuana. Photo of Plod standing proudly admiring a sizeable stack of plastic wrapped parcels. Story in same paper about six weeks later covered the mysterious & unexplained absence of same from the industrial estate lock-up they’d securely stashed it. You don’t have to be Sherlock Holmes, do you?

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