Crime kingpin Mitchell is Moroccan link man in massive drug deals with Bolivian cocaine cartels
GODFATHER George 'The Penguin' Mitchell has become the African link man in a cocaine chain from Bolivia to the streets of Ireland and Europe. The crime lord is sourcing massive shipments of cocaine, similar in quantity to the massive one seized by gardai this week, directly from a Bolivian cartel, gardai believe.
Mitchell (61) is believed to be organising the deals from a new base in Morocco, where he has spent the majority of his time in recent years after leaving a property in Amsterdam. Gardai believe the cocaine ending up in Ireland is now sourced from Bolivia by Irish criminals.
Mitchell - who is suffering from health problems as a result of heavy drinking - has been living in a plush villa in ex-pat community in the north African country for the last two years. Last year, the heavily-fortified house where Mitchell had been living in Amsterdam, in de Watermolen 7, was placed on the rental market.
It is believed that The Penguin - who earned his nickname as a result of his waddling, awkward gait - shared the home with his Indonesian mistress and business partner.
However, records show that a new mortgage for €450,000 was taken out on the house in 2010 in the name of a 33 year old Irish man. The Penguin is also involved in a legitimate business with his mistress, importing furniture from South East Asia.
A source has claimed that Mitchell even recently made an appearance on a trade stand promoting Indonesian furniture imports and crafts at a prestigious art, furniture and food fair in The Hague. It is believed that The Penguin regularly returns to Amsterdam to visit his family which is based in the country.
Mitchell's daughter, Rachel, has also spent time with her father in Morocco, after moves between Marbella and Amsterdam. In June 2000, Rachel's partner - heroin dealer Derek 'Maradona' Dunne' - was gunned down outside the home she shared with her father in Amsterdam. Dunne (33) was a former League of Ireland player who became a major player in Dublin's heroin trade.
A source said that the blow Gardai delivered to cocaine import routes last week will be a major headache for Mitchell's crime organisation. Detectives from the Garda National Drugs Unit recovered a staggering 440 kilos of cocaine following a ten-day operation on Tuesday. The drugs were imported to Ireland in a container disguised as wooden flooring.
Two men were charged in connection with the seizure - the largest ever on land in the history of the state.
"Cocaine has been directly traced to Bolivia and came through west Africa and then into Europe. The drugs were then shipped into Ireland from a port in Europe," a source revealed.
Mitchell is described as a link man and a facilitator in the international drug trafficking trade who works with other investors from Ireland and the UK who stump up cash for major deals.
Mitchell has extensive contacts and regularly organises shipments of drugs into England, from where one of his main business partners in Liverpool sends them forward into Ireland. He is extremely careful and prefers to use public telephones when doing business.
A Dutch security source said Mitchell is placed under surveillance whenever he returns to Holland and that he is aware of this and doesn't even litter the street to avoid drawing unwanted police attention.
"Some top Dutch gangsters are close to British and Irish criminals and they like doing business with them, having a drink and the odd bit of socialising together.
"They know each other and help one another out."
After Derek Dunne was killed, Rachel moved into a house on Groote Peel in Amsterdam with her two kids. The house is also listed as a business address for a wholesale jewellery company, registered with the KvK (chamber of commerce) by her brother, George jnr. Mitchell's other son, Paul, also lives in Holland.
Mitchell, originally from Ballyfermot, has spent the last 25 years flooding Ireland with cocaine, heroin, cannabis and weapons. He started his involvement in serious crime with murdered gangland boss, Martin 'The General' Cahill, and took part in a number of robberies before he was jailed for five years in 1988 for stealing a big consignment of cattle drench.
After his release from prison, Mitchell was one of a number of big-time Dublin criminals who realised the vast fortunes which were to be made from drug trafficking. He set up a well-organised racket from his west Dublin base and quietly began to establish himself as the biggest cannabis and ecstasy trafficker in the State.
But the multi-millionaire criminal fled Ireland following the murder of crime reporter Veronica Guerin 1996 after gardai turned up the heat on drug traffickers. He moved his base to Holland after the arrest of his right-hand man Johnny Doran who was caught with £500,000 worth of cannabis on the M50 at Castleknock, Dublin.
Mitchell quickly struck up close ties with Middle Eastern and South American drug-trafficking gangs. He became one of the key suppliers for cannabis, cocaine and ecstasy into the British and Irish markets. The Penguin is also a key broker for other gangs operating in Ireland, Britain and Europe.
Apart from drug trafficking, Mitchell and his associates are involved in illegal firearms trading, prostitution and money laundering. In March 1998, he was arrested by Dutch police and charged with a £5m computer supplies robbery. During his court appearances in Holland, Mitchell described himself as a respectable businessman involved in import-export. He was sentenced to three years imprisonment by Dutch judges for the computer parts robbery.
However, he walked free a year later in 1999 due to lenient sentencing regulations, with a third of his term automatically remitted for good behaviour and the time in pre-trial custody also deducted.
One of his associates - who was sentenced to 16 months in prison for the same offence - was Mitchell's pal, notorious Dutch drugs baron Johan Bolung. The flamboyant Dutchman who drives fast top of the range cars and wears exclusive watches has been a close associate of Mitchell and other leading Irish drugs traffickers for many years. He is known to have extensive drugs dealings with Moroccan and also Turkish criminals.
When Mitchell arrived in Holland in 1996 he stayed for a while in Bolung's luxury apartment in one of the wealthiest suburbs south of The Hague. Despite The Penguin's lifelong involvement in criminality, some of his relatives are highly respected members of Irish
Last year, Fine Gael Presidential candidate Gay Mitchell was furious after he was quizzed about the Penguin, his first cousin, on RTE Radio.
"I am the first cousin of an ambassador," he claimed.
"I am the first cousin of people who have been involved in security forces of the State. I have cousins who play international rugby for Ireland, none of them have anything to do with me."