Major gang boss among five Irish arrested in UK over €5.5m cartel drug bust
A MAJOR west Dublin mobster whose gang is suspected of carrying out two gruesome Monday night murders in the capital has been arrested in England as part of a massive international investigation into the deadly Kinahan cartel.
The 36-year-old west Dublin thug, whose gang is believed to have murdered pals Darragh Nugent and John Gibson last month, was arrested by specialist British police in an operation in which about €5.5m of drugs were seized, as well as £250,000 (€278,000) in cash, a handgun and ammunition.
The gangster was one of five Irish people arrested as part of a probe into the activities of the cartel by the British National Crime Agency (NCA).
All have been released from custody by police in England but Independent.ie can reveal that this is not the first time in recent weeks that the gangster has been arrested by officers investigating serious organised crime.
On the evening of August 27, gardai investigating a sinister plot to murder a senior member of the Hutch mob arrested the suspect at Dublin Airport.
The Clondalkin criminal was quizzed for a number of days at Irishtown Garda Station on the city’s southside, where he was questioned about a conspiracy to murder Kinahan cartel target James ‘Mago’ Gately.
The burly alleged gang boss was arrested by almost a dozen gardai after arriving in Dublin Airport when he got off a flight from Malta.
The father-of-three was returning from a lavish holiday with his wife when armed gardai pounced as he walked into the arrivals hall.
It has emerged he has spent a lot of time in the Birmingham area of England after being released from garda custody.
In the meantime, his mob is suspected of carrying out the two latest gangland murders in the capital against a rival west Dublin gang.
Gardai have not yet made any arrests in the gun murders of Gibson (28) and his pal Nugent (36), who were shot dead on Monday nights just a week apart from each other in September.
These hits are suspected of being carried out by the gang in which the thug is considered the main player.
In a statement to the Herald, the NCA confirmed it had arrested five Irish people in a major operation.
“Officers from the National Crime Agency have arrested a woman and four men in the West Midlands on suspicion of conspiracy to import controlled drugs after 15kg of cocaine and 220kg of herbal cannabis were seized by Border Force officers in Dover on Monday 2 October,” a spokeswoman said.
“The woman, aged 34, and two men, aged 56 and 39, have been released under investigation.
“The other two men, aged 34 and 36, have been released on bail.
“Border Force officers also arrested a 37-year-old man in Dover, who has since been released under investigation,” she added.
“Following the arrests, NCA officers seized a handgun and 85 rounds of ammunition at an industrial unit, and £250,000 cash at one of the suspect’s home addresses.
“As enquiries are ongoing, we are unable to comment further,” said the spokeswoman.
Sources said all the arrested suspects are from Dublin and specialist gardai have been monitoring their activities for a long time.
The 36-year-old arrested man’s gang members are
now suspects for three brutal gun murders in the Clondalkin area.
The major Clondalkin criminal was previously quizzed by gardai investigating the gangland murder of innocent man Dean Johnson (21).
Sources say his west Dublin home is decked out with a state-of-the-art CCTV system and he rarely leaves the property without wearing a hidden bullet-proof vest.
“This individual has been a long-term target for the Drugs and Organised Crime Bureau for many years as well as the Criminal Assets Bureau (CAB),” a senior source said last night.
The CAB has carried out a large number of raids against the mobster’s gang in the past year, but the criminal has been able to explain some of his wealth by a major claim he gained in the civil courts.
Investigators are probing whether he was involved in the “logistics” of the conspiracy to commit the murder of Hutch mob associate James ‘Mago’ Gately.