Saturday 23 March 2019

Kinahan cartel is 'now saturated with Garda moles'

Exiled gang increasingly reliant on bottom-rung criminals

Gerry Hutch. Picture: Steve Humphreys
Gerry Hutch. Picture: Steve Humphreys
HIT FOILED: A submachine gun, pistol and revolver were recovered in Gardiner Street last week in what gardai believe was an attempted hit on a relation of Gerry Hutch
Maeve Sheehan

Maeve Sheehan

The men arrested ahead of a suspected assassination attempt in the ongoing Hutch feud last Wednesday were under Garda surveillance for days and were tailed from Dublin to the field outside Gorey where gardai believe they planned to exchange weapons.

The dramatic seizure in the early hours of Wednesday morning in the isolated rural farmland shows the extent of the Garda's infiltration of the warring Kinahan and Hutch gangs.

Sources said last night that the Kinahan cartel's Dublin operations is now "saturated" with Garda moles, although it appears this has not deterred the cartel from stepping up its campaign to wipe out the Hutch gang.

Gardai claimed the arrests as the second attempted hit they have foiled within a week, crediting the allocation of increased resources deployed to the force's Special Crime Operations unit.

The success is also due to the largely exiled Kinahan cartel's increased reliance on bottom-rung criminals, including in the Hutch gang's north inner city stomping ground, to carry out hits to order.

Kinahan's cartel is believed to be behind most of the 14 feud-related murders to date.

The two men who were arrested in Gorey are both from the north inner city and were being questioned by gardai this weekend.

According to informed sources, the two men were once thought to be loyal to the Hutch gang. Some sources said the men may have been collecting firearms for the Hutch gang. However, gardai suspect they were in fact working for the Kinahans, and were targeting a nephew of Gerry 'the Monk' Hutch, who has been keeping a low profile in Wexford since the outbreak of the bloody feud.

The cartel previously tried to kill the man years ago, when he was on holiday in Majorca, but the gunmen mistakenly murdered an innocent Irish tourist who was on holidays with his family.

Gardai followed one of the cars from Dublin to a field in Millands, a townland on the outskirts of Gorey shortly before 1am on Wednesday morning, and two guns, ammunition and three cars were seized.

One man was arrested in a VW Golf, in which a Glock semi-automatic pistol and a Webley revolver were found.

A second man was pursued across fields before being found hiding in the footwell of a third car. Gardai believe two of the cars were equipped with incendiary material and the men were to burn out two cars and use the third to return to Dublin.

The Garda operation was highly secret and tightly controlled. The first local gardai knew about it was when the call came through for back-up.

The head of the Special Crimes Operations unit, Assistant Commissioner John O'Driscoll, said last week up to 50 lives have been saved by gardai intercepting gangland attacks.

Meanwhile the Irishman facing trial in Spain for killing another of Gerry Hutch's nephews, Gary, is facing the prospect of a permanent life sentence, a Spanish court heard last week. Gary was murdered by the Kinahan gang in Spain in September 2015, which is widely believed to have prompted the Regency Hotel shooting which marked the outbreak of murder on the streets of Dublin.

Prosecutors said last week that James Quinn, a Dubliner, was working for a criminal gang, and had a luxury lifestyle not in keeping with his earnings. He lived in luxury homes, drove high-end cars and made numerous trips to places like Dubai and Thailand.

They claim he was the gunman who shot Gary Hutch up to 15 times, after being chased through an apartment complex on Mijas Costa. Quinn claims he has been wrongly identified as the gunman.

The permanent life sentence was introduced in 2015 for use in particularly horrific crimes and prosecutors in the forthcoming trial of James Quinn have asked that it be considered in this case because of the severity of the crime.

Last Saturday, gunmen linked to the Kinahan drugs cartel were planning to assassinate a member of the Hutch family by tricking him into leaving his home in Dublin's north inner city, gardai suspect.

Gardai believe the gang was planning an attack on Patsy Hutch, the brother of former criminal Gerry Hutch. Patsy Hutch has no connection to crime.

He is the father of Gary, who was shot dead by the Kinahan gang in Spain in 2015, triggering the gangland feud that has so far claimed at least 14 lives.

In the latest Garda strike against the cartel, detectives intercepted the gang, preventing the most recent attempt by the Kinahan gang to wipe out the Hutch gang.

Three men armed with a sub-machine gun, an automatic pistol and a revolver were arrested in a van in the car park of an apartment block on Gardiner Street in Dublin city centre at 8am on Saturday morning.

A fourth man aged in his 40s was arrested later and searches were conducted in the north inner city and in north and west Dublin.

Sunday Independent

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