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Paul Rice crime gang ‘selling properties’ to try pay cash owed after €8m drugs seizure

The Rice mob are one of three southside gangs who allegedly owe money to a Moroccan gang.

Paul Rice

photo of drugs seized

Ken FoySunday World

A drugs gang centred around notorious crime figure Paul Rice are coming under major pressure to cough up cash after an €8 million drugs seizure in Spain.

Such is the pressure on the crew since the bust last March that they are even trying to sell properties in west Dublin a bid to raise funds, the Sunday World can reveal.

It is understood that 400 kilogrammes of cannabis which was destined for the Irish market was seized in the surveillance operation by Spanish police.

No one has been charged in relation to the massive seizure in Spain but sources say that there has been serious repercussions over cash owed with the Rice mob being one of three southside gangs who allegedly owe money to a Moroccan gang.

“The other two crews are based in the Rathfarnham and Clondalkin areas – it seems that all three are being put under pressure to cough up €750,000 for what was seized in Spain earlier this year,” a source said.

A key associate of gangster Paul Rice (52) was arrested during the police operation in March.

The arrest of the 31-year-old “volatile” Tallaght man is considered “highly significant” as senior sources say that he has become the “effective leader” of the Rice organisation in recent years.

Rice is one of the capital's best-known criminals, but sources say that he had been keeping his head down and was content for a younger associate to "take care of business" on his behalf.

In a separate investigation, gardai continue to investigate the seizure of €700k worth of cannabis in west Dublin last Sunday.

It’s understood the gang behind the drugs were previously the organisers of a major shipment worth almost €10million which was seized by customs officers at Dublin Port last November after no one came to collect the drugs.

No arrests were made in the Bank Holiday Sunday operation but gardai say that investigations into the seizure are ongoing.

“This is an ever emerging crew who seem to have deep pockets. There had been concern for a while about who was coming in and out of that location and gardai conducted their search operation after receiving intelligence about the criminal elements who were operating there,” a source explained.

“To lose that amount of weed is not insignificant for any crime organisation but they have shown that they are a very resourceful and a well funded outfit,” the source added.

photo of drugs seized

Sources say that one of the main players in the mob is an “under-the-radar” gangster who left the capital around 15 years ago and is now based in Spain.

Another senior lieutenant in the mob is a 36-year-old drug dealer who was previously the target of a very high profile Criminal Assets Bureau (CAB) investigation which cannot be outlined here for legal reasons.

The gang are said to be regrouping after their cannabis herb shipment was seized.

They are also heavily involved in tobacco smuggling.

Gardai announced details of last Sunday morning’s bust in a press release.

“As part of Operation Tara, Gardaí have seized approximately €700,000 Cannabis following a search operation in Brittas, Dublin 24 on 31st July 2022,” a spokesman said in a statement.

At approximately 11am, Gardaí attached to Tallaght Garda Station including the Garda Dog Unit, Regular Unit and Tallaght and Rathfarnham Divisional Drugs Units, searched a yard the in the Crooksling area of Brittas.

During the course of this search cannabis with an approximate value of €700,000 was recovered.

Irish gangster Paul Rice's associate arrested in €8m drug bust in Spain

“The drugs have been sent for forensic examination. No arrests have been made at this time. Investigations are ongoing,” he added.

When they were busted last November by revenue officers 960kgs of tobacco valued at over €600,000 was seized from a storage unit in the Rathcoole area of Dublin in follow up searches.

The day before revenue officers discovered a massive cocaine and drugs believed to be worth around €10million linked to the gang.

It is understood Customs officers discovered 60kg of cocaine in a container in Dublin Port alongside heroin, cannabis, and ketamine.

The shipment lay for several days at Dublin Port – but that no-one came to pick it up.

“If they can survive a financial hit like that, they can survive anything,” a source said last night.

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