'We have to get him in the head or we won't get paid' - court hears of secret recordings of 'foot soldiers' hired to kill Michael Fraser
TWO Dublin men caught with a loaded gun and ammunition were "foot soldiers" and "hired hands" contracted by senior figures in a serious organised criminal group to kill Michael Fraser.
Stephen Dunne (39) and Gary Gleeson (34) were arrested and charged after detectives intercepted a Fiat doblo van during an operation targeting organised crime in Dublin in August 2017.
They had a loaded gun sitting between them.
The men had been secretly recorded by detectives as they planned the hit, with Gleeson recorded saying "aim for the head. Have to get him in the head. Head shots or we won't get paid."
The Special Criminal Court also heard that detectives found a tracking device under Mr Fraser's van, and Dunne's DNA was found on a SIM card which had been inserted into this tracker.
This tracker was linked to a mobile phone, and Dunne was caught on CCTV cameras buying €20 phone credit for that phone.
The two men pleaded guilty before the Special Criminal Court last month to possession of a semi-automatic pistol and 10 rounds of ammunition at Naas Road, Crumlin Dublin 12 on August 7, 2017.
Dunne, with an address at Meile an Ri Drive in Lucan, and Gleeson, of Muskerry Road in Ballyfermot, were remanded in custody pending sentencing in July.
Detective Inspector David Gallagher told Garnet Orange SC, prosecuting, that gardai mounted a surveillance operation after they received confidential information that a criminal gang in the Dublin area was planning an attack on an unknown individual.
Insp Gallagher said gardai set up surveillance on a particular van, a Fiat doblo.
The court heard that this van had fictitious markings, including phone numbers and email address, of an electrical contractor.
The van "looked legitimate" but was not, the court heard.
Insp Gallagher said gardai later discovered the target was Michael Fraser (39), who is from the Drimnagh area.
A decision was made to search his van looking for possible tracking devices on Mr Fraser's van, and a device was found underneath it.
Insp Gallagher said gardai continued to gather information and to track the Fiat doblo van, as it moved through west Dublin.
At 7.45pm on August 7, 2017 a decision was made to intercept the van.
Insp Gallagher said officers found Gleeson and Dunne in the van with a gun sitting between them. The gun was loaded, and ready to fire. There was one round in the breach and there were nine further rounds in the magazine.
A can of petrol, lighter and rubber gloves as well as a small amount of cocaine were found after gardai searched the vehicle.
In relation to Mr Fraser, Insp Gallagher said a number of attempts had been made on his life, and he had received a GIM (Garda Information Message) form from gardai informing him of that.
Mr Fraser had "no involvement with gardai" in this matter, the inspector said.
The court heard Dunne had 14 previous convictions while Gleeson had 23 previous convictions, nearly all for minor matters.
Defence counsel Michael O'Higgins SC, for Gleeson, said his client had been "contracted and paid to carry out an attack" on Mr Fraser.
Mr O'Higgins said Gleeson, a father of one, was essentially a "hired hand" or a "foot soldier".
In relation to Dunne, Michael Bowman SC said he had had significant drugs issues since he was a teenager.
Mr Bowman said Dunne was "not the mastermind" of this operation, and he got involved in this matter after he was "directly blamed" by a gang for the loss of a substantial quantity of drugs.
The men are due to be sentenced next month.