POLICE in Spain raided a gym linked to the Kinahan crime cartel at dawn today as part of a major cross-border operation.
Civil Guard officers forced entry to the MGM Gym in Puerto Banus near Marbella as scores of gardai began searches at several locations in Dublin accompanied by Spanish officers.
Detectives used bolt cutters to force their way into the gym suspected of being closely linked to the Kinahan family which is involved in a deadly feud with the rival Hutch family - just after 7am local time before taking away cash and computers.
Investigators were spotted loading several boxes into unmarked vans parked on the pavement outside the gym.
They also used sniffer dogs believed to have been trained to hunt out cash and drugs.
It is thought other simultaneous raids were carried out at a number of other locations on the Costa del Sol, although there was no immediate official response from the Civil Guard.
A spokesman at the national HQ and a regional HQ in Malaga said a statement would be released later in the day.
None of the detectives at the scene would make any comment.
The gym was empty when the police turned up in more than half a dozen unmarked cars and Guardia Civil vans. A caretaker arrived to find the door had been opened and scores of officers inside.
Clients arriving later in the morning were turned away and told the gym would not be opening for business until tomorrow/Thursday.
The operation lasted around four hours till just after 11am.
There was no sign of Daniel Kinahan, who is reported to have taken over control of the family’s business empire from dad Christy.
Police remained at the premises after taking away property from inside but made no immediate official comment on the large-scale operation.
Several police and Guardia Civil vehicles were spotted at the scene, including a van used by Guardia Civil forensics experts.
Former Irish, British and European Middleweight Champion Matthew Macklin, a pal of the Kinahans who is not involved in crime, founded the MGM Gym.
A source said: “The officers said they were looking for two men who used to use the gym but no-one believes them. They took everything, computers, paperwork, the lot.”
Innocent holidaymaker Trevor O’Neill was gunned down in the Majorcan resort of Costa de la Calma last month in front of his family after being confused for a member of the Hutch family who is not linked to crime.
The ongoing feud between the Hutch and Kinahan families has been blamed for nine deaths in Spain and Ireland.
In February gangster David Byrne was shot dead at Dublin’s Regency Hotel during the the weigh-in of Jamie Kavanagh, the boxing pal of Daniel Kinahan.
Byrne, 32, was aligned to Christy Kinahan’s gang.
The shooting, which followed the September 2014 killing of Jamie’s gangster dad Gerard at a pub near Marbella, was seen as retaliation for the assassination in September last year of Gary Hutch in Miraflores near Fuengirola.
Gary’s uncle Gerry ‘The Monk’ Hutch has been blamed for ordering the hit on Byrne as part of an all-out war with the Kinahan gang.
His brother Eddie was shot dead three days after the Regency Hotel attack in a feud which one major criminal has warned would only end when Daniel Kinahan.
Reports in May said a Garda sent to Spain to interview survivors of the Regency Hotel attack was physically intimated when he visited the gym.
A Sunday newspaper said the detective sent to the Costa del Sol to gather evidence faced such hostility Spanish cops escorting him moved to draw their guns.