Friday 9 December 2016

Moment Irish criminal arrested beside luxury yacht over Gary Hutch murder as part of international raids on Kinahan gang

* Searches carried out in Marbella and Dublin as part of international operation
* Gardaí discovered €23,000 and false identification papers in a search of one Dublin property
* Officers in Spain raided gym founded by retired pro boxer Matthew Macklin

Ken Foy, Cathal McMahon and Alan Sherry

Published 14/09/2016 | 08:33

Gardaí assisting La Guardia Civil in Spain Picture: Garda Facebook
Gardaí assisting La Guardia Civil in Spain Picture: Garda Facebook
Moment Irish man is arrested in Spain over the murder of Gary Hutch. Picture: Garda Press Office
Armed Gardai conduct a search of property and a car in Dublin's South Inner city Picture: Gerry Mooney
Picture: Garda Facebook
Gardaí assisting La Guardia Civil in Spain. Picture: Garda Facebook
Gardaí assisting La Guardia Civil in Spain Picture: Garda Facebook

A major Irish criminal has been arrested in Spain over the murder of Gary Hutch as part of a series of raids in Dublin and Marbella targeting the Kinahan crime gang.

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Over 60 officers, from the Garda National Drugs and Organised Crime Bureau, accompanied by staff from the Criminal Assets Bureau (CAB), have searched at least six locations in Dublin.

In a unique move gardaí were accompanied on the searches by officers from Spain's Guardia Civil.

Meanwhile, police in Spain raided a gym linked to the Kinahan crime cartel at dawn today as part of a major cross-border operation.

Civil Guard officers forced entry to the MGM Gym, founded by Matthew Macklin in Puerto Banus near Marbella as scores of gardai began searches at several locations in Dublin accompanied by Spanish officers.

Detectives used bolt cutters to force their way into the gym suspected of being closely linked to the Kinahan family which is involved in a deadly feud with the rival Hutch family - just after 7am local time before taking away cash and computers.

Garda and Guardia Civil officers in Dublin. Picture: Garda Press Office
Garda and Guardia Civil officers in Dublin. Picture: Garda Press Office
Armed Gardai conduct a search of property and a car in Dublin's South Inner city Picture: Gerry Mooney

Investigators were spotted loading several boxes into unmarked vans parked on the pavement outside the gym.

They also used sniffer dogs believed to have been trained to hunt out cash and drugs.

Also in Spain today, a major Irish criminal was arrested in relation to the murder of Gary Hutch last September - the first gun murder which sparked the deadly Dublin gang feud.

The man, who is 34 and from the south inner city, is being questioned by Spanish detectives today about the murder.

In Dublin, officers, investigating the Kinahan crime cartel, pounced at approximately 6.30am. A spokesperson said it was an intelligence-led operation relating to serious organised crime in the Dublin Region.

The properties raided in Dublin include three in Dublin 8, and one each in Clondalkin, Lucan and South County Dublin.

Moment Irish man is arrested in Spain over the murder of Gary Hutch. Picture: Garda Press Office
Moment Irish man is arrested in Spain over the murder of Gary Hutch. Picture: Garda Press Office

At one address, plain clothes Gardai could be seen entering and exiting a house this morning, while another methodically and thoroughly searched a white Dublin registered car parked outside.

At a press conference in Dublin on Wednesday afternoon Detective Superintendent Tony Howard, of the Drugs and Organised Crime Bureau, confirmed that €23,000 in cash and false identification papers were seized in a search on one Dublin property.

Computers, phones and documents were seized during the searches. No arrests have been made but gardaí say they are confident of charges in the future.

“We’ve seized computers, phones, €23,000 in cash, false identification papers and financial documentation in relation to banks outside this jurisdiction,” said Det Supt Howard.

MGM Gym in Marbella
MGM Gym in Marbella

“I believe we will have arrests in the future. Today was about gathering evidence and disrupting and dismantling these organised crime groups. It was about gathering evidence so we can go to the DPP to seek a charge of possibly directing organised crime but certainly facilitating organised crime in these jurisdictions. I do know a significant amount of evidence has been retrieved in Spain.”

He said the investigation was heavily focused on money laundering and officers investigating the gang have seized around €1m in cash in recent weeks.

A number of gardai were present with members of the Guardia civil. They carried out a number of searches in Spain and one person has been arrested in relation to the murder of Gary Hutch in Spain in 2015.

Det Supt Howard said gardai have helped Spanish police identify suspects as part of the Gary Hutch investigation.

“In terms of sharing information around the murder of Gary Hutch we can help them interpret documentation and vice versa. We have several members there on the ground assisting and interpreting documents for the Guardia Civil and identifying suspects. It is ultimately about identifying suspects to bring before the courts either here or in Spain.”

He said the Dublin man arrested in Spain over Gary Hutch’s murder will appear before magistrates in Spain who will decide whether he is prosecuted.

Armed Gardai conduct a search of property and a car in Dublin's South Inner city Picture: Gerry Mooney
Armed Gardai conduct a search of property and a car in Dublin's South Inner city Picture: Gerry Mooney

He added that several members of Guardia Civil were in Dublin.

Det Supt Howard added: “The main focus of the operation was to target organised crime here in Dublin but we are very grateful to our colleagues in the Guardia Civil who we have spoken to on a number of occasions over the past few weeks.

“These operations take a lot of planning and coordination. That has been going on behind the scenes away from the cameras for the last few weeks and it certainly has borne some fruitful rewards this morning.”

He said gardaí have also been liaising with officers in other European countries including Spain, Germany and the Netherlands and will also work with authorities outside the European Union.

In Spain, simultaneous raids were carried out at a number of other locations on the Costa del Sol.

In a statement, released online by the Guardia Civil, police said the Operation was called "Geraneo".

Detective Superintendent Tony Howard addresses press Conference held at Harcourt Square in relation to Orgainsed Crime
Detective Superintendent Tony Howard addresses press Conference held at Harcourt Square in relation to Orgainsed Crime

They said that agents connected to this investigation arrested a man, identified by his initials J. Q., in connection with the murder investigation.

Police in Spain, supported by gardaí, raided four properties including the MGM gym which was founded by Matthew Macklin.

The gym was empty when the police turned up in more than half a dozen unmarked cars and Guardia Civil vans. A caretaker arrived to find the door had been opened and scores of officers inside.

Clients arriving later in the morning were turned away and told the gym would not be opening for business until tomorrow/Thursday.

The operation lasted around four hours till just after 11am.

There was no sign of Daniel Kinahan, who is reported to have taken over control of the family’s business empire from dad Christy.

Police remained at the premises after taking away property from inside but made no immediate official comment on the large-scale operation.

Several police and Guardia Civil vehicles were spotted at the scene, including a van used by Guardia Civil forensics experts.

Former Irish, British and European Middleweight Champion Matthew Macklin, a pal of the Kinahans who is not involved in crime, founded the MGM Gym.

A source said: “The officers said they were looking for two men who used to use the gym but no-one believes them. They took everything, computers, paperwork, the lot.”

Justice Minister Francis Fitzgerald said this morning she "welcomed" the cooperation between gardai and Spanish authorities.

“I really want to welcome the excellent cooperation between the Gardai and Spanish authorities," she said.

"I met the Spanish Minister for Justice some weeks ago. Gardai have an unrelenting, a very serious and ongoing persistent focus on interrupting the criminal activities and this cycle of revenge and retaliation that we see with these gangs. I welcome their ongoing work progress.”

Spanish detectives are investigating the murder of 34-year-old Dublin man Gary Hutch, who was shot dead in September 2015 at the apartment complex where he lived near Marbella.

His was the first murder in an ongoing feud between the Hutch and the Kinahan gangs.

A second man, innocent Trevor O'Neill, was also shot while on holiday Spain last month. He was murdered in a case of mistaken identity.

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