Tuesday 18 December 2018

Feud suspect quizzed for second time

Gardai foil weapons exchange and seize loaded guns in latest strike against the Kinahan gang

GANGS: Daniel Kinahan, head of the Kinahan crime cartel
GANGS: Daniel Kinahan, head of the Kinahan crime cartel
Maeve Sheehan

Maeve Sheehan

A criminal suspected of planning attacks on the Hutch gang was foiled for the second time this year, gardai believe.

The suspect was arrested with three others last Friday during what gardai say was an attempt to exchange weapons, in the continuing gangland feud being waged by the Kinahan drugs cartel.

The four were arrested at 4.15pm in Clondalkin when Garda operation stopped two cars and searched a nearby house.

Detectives found two loaded revolvers in one of the cars. Three men and a woman were questioned in Clondalkin Garda Station. Two men and the woman were released without charge yesterday and a 26-year-old man remained in custody. All four suspects were questioned under Section 30 of the Offences Against the State Act.

The latest arrests follow an apparent escalation of the Kinahan cartel's attempts to strike at the Hutch gang in recent months, despite the Garda's continuing success in thwarting them.

One of the men arrested last Friday was apprehended last month in Wexford, where gardai believed a hit was being planned on a member of the Hutch family staying in the area.

Gardai are believed to have followed the gang from Dublin to a rural field in Wexford, where it is thought guns were being exchanged. A Glock semi-automatic pistol and a Webley revolver were found in the footwell of one of the cars.

Another member of the Hutch family was reported to have narrowly escaped a gun attack in Turkey last week. Two armed men in balaclavas called to an apartment in Antalya, where the man was on holiday. The intended target leapt from the balcony and was treated in hospital for injuries he suffered in the fall.

Turkish authorities are investigating the alleged attack.

The head of the Special Crimes Operations unit, Assistant Commissioner John O'Driscoll, has said that up to 50 lives have been saved by gardai intercepting gangland attacks. Gardai have credited the allocation of increased resources deployed to the force's Special Crime Operations unit.

The feud began with the murder in Spain of Gary Hutch, a nephew of Gerry 'the Monk' Hutch, by the Kinahan gang, which sparked the gun attack at the Regency Hotel. Since then, 14 people have been killed.

The last victim of the feud was Derek Coakley-Hutch, a nephew of Gerry Hutch, who was shot in January as he sat in a car in a halting site beside Cloverhill Prison in west Dublin.

The Kinahan cartel is believed to be behind most of the 14 feud-related murders. Most of its main players, Christy Kinahan and his son, Daniel, are effectively exiled, but are conducting their violent campaign from the Continent and the Middle East.

According to Garda sources, several of the gang's top lieutenants have left their south Dublin stronghold. They say the gang is using criminal factions in Dublin and small-time dealers and criminals to carry out the hits, as a condition of drug deals, to settle debts or for cash.

• Meanwhile, suspected cocaine, heroin and ketamine estimated at a value of more than €2.5m was seized during a joint operation involving gardai and customs officials at Dublin Port.

A 55-year-old man was arrested and is being detained under Section 2 of the Criminal Justice (Drugs Trafficking) Act 1996 at Store Street Garda Station.

Separately, police in Northern Ireland seized more than £1.3m of herbal cannabis yesterday, in one of their biggest drugs hauls in recent years. The drugs were found on a shipping pallet in an industrial fuel tank in Dromore, Co Down.

Three pensioners were among the six people arrested. They included two 68-year-old women and a 72-year-old man who were released on bail pending further inquiries. The operation was conducted with the assistance of An Garda Siochana.

Sunday Independent

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