Gardaí trailed Estonian hitman for two days before arrest for feud murder plot
An Estonian criminal who pleaded guilty to conspiring to murder a key member of the Hutch criminal gang was caught following a massive Garda surveillance operation.
Imre Arakas (59), with an address in Sopruse, Tallinn, Estonia, appeared before the Special Criminal Court yesterday, admitting to conspiring with others to murder James 'Mago' Gately between April 3 and 4 last year.
Mr Justice Tony Hunt, presiding, sitting with Judge Sinéad Ní Chúlacháin and Judge Cormac Dunne, remanded the defendant in custody until November 30, when he will be sentenced.
The High Court endorsed a European Arrest Warrant (EAW) from Lithuania in February 2018 in relation to serious charges Arakas will face there once his jail term is completed in Ireland.
Arakas had been in Ireland for less than 48 hours when he was arrested by gardaí.
He had been under constant surveillance by gardaí as soon as he arrived in Ireland after officers received information about his role in a plan to kill Gately at his home in Northern Ireland.
Gardaí believe he was brought in by the Kinahan gang to murder Gately and possibly one other high profile member of the Hutch gang as part of the ongoing Hutch/Kinahan feud.
After his arrest, gardaí had to quickly photograph screengrabs from Arakas's 'self-wiping' encrypted Blackberry phone - which gave details of the murder plot against Gately before all information was remotely wiped by another gang member.
It is understood the instructions relating to the plot to kill Gately were organised by a close associate of the Kinahan gang who is based in Spain.
However, this individual did not deal with Arakas himself - he delegated this task to another criminal from Clondalkin. This man was also arrested during the investigation but was released.