Jailed mobster uploads Facebook post from behind bars but prison authorities fail to find mobile devices
This exclusive image shows a dangerous mobster linked to the Kinahan cartel proudly posing for the camera - from his prison cell in Mountjoy.
The photo was posted on the cartel member's social media account earlier this month, and is the latest in a series of posts from behind bars.
Despite facing serious charges linked to the Hutch/Kinahan feud, he managed to post the image on his Facebook page.
It is understood that the volatile criminal has also been communicating with his associates on the outside.
He is housed on B-Wing, which is known as the Kinahan wing owing to the large number of cartel associates locked up there.
The Herald has learned that the mobster has been subjected to a number of searches in recent weeks as part of a crackdown, but prison authorities have not yet found any mobile devices.
Gardai suspect that the man was involved in a serious crime on behalf of the international gang. He cannot be named for legal reasons as he is currently before the courts.
A source last night said that, despite no phone being discovered in any of the searches, it was "evident" that the thug had been using a prohibited device to access his social media account.
"It is the latest in a number of posts he has made on his Facebook account," the source said.
"In one picture, his cell door can be seen in the background and he makes no attempt to disguise this.
"He has also posted several other pictures, taken before he was jailed, and there is reason to believe that he has been in contact with his associates on the outside as well."
The criminal is closely linked to a number of the cartel's most senior Dublin associates. Prison officials have launched an investigation. A spokesman for the Irish Prison Service (IPS) said he could not comment on individual cases.
A separate probe was launched earlier this year after another suspected cartel member posted a rant against gardai on his social media account.
In the blog, the criminal branded gardai "a bunch of clowns" and boasted that he would never be convicted of serious feud-related crimes. In the message - posted on a public Facebook page - the inmate said he had been locked in a dispute with gardai over access to a mobile phone ahead of his trial.
The man said his phone was encrypted with the programme PGP (Pretty Good Privacy) and gardai were unable to access it.
He claimed that he had offered to open it for them in the presence of his lawyer but that this had been rejected.
More than 20 cartel associates are before the courts in relation to feud activity and are housed on the cartel wing in Mountjoy.
Members of the Hutch gang are being placed on a special wing in Wheatfield Prison as officials attempt to prevent the violent feud from spilling into Irish jails.
So far the Hutch/Kinahan feud has claimed 12 lives, with just one murder carried out so far this year.
The latest gun killing linked to the feud happened in May, when Michael Keogh (37) was shot dead in an underground car park near Dorset Street, Dublin 1.
Gardai suspect that he was gunned down by associates of the Hutch gang.
The first murder linked to the feud was carried out more than two years ago, when Gary Hutch was shot dead near an apartment complex in Spain.
Hutch (34), who is a nephew of Gerry 'The Monk' Hutch, was shot dead by cartel associates in September 2015.
Assistant Commissioner John O'Driscoll, who is in charge of Special Crime Operations, recently said 40 hits linked to the feud had been prevented by gardai. He also said organised criminals were enjoying easy access to firearms.
"There was an expectation when a particular feud between two gangs began that there were going to be numerous murders over a period of time," he said.
"But instead what has happened is we have an ever-increasing number, in the region of about 40 incidents, where we have prevented loss of life and where that has involved the seizure of firearms and the charging of people."