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Frenchman tracked in gang rocket probe

GARDAI are investigating a 'French connection' into the discovery of 'Fat' Freddie's rocket launchers.

A security source has revealed to the Herald that gardai have enlisted the help of Interpol, Europol and the French police in tracking down a mystery Frenchman who was renting the property where 'Fat' Freddie's rocket launchers were discovered.

The Herald has learned that the property at Longtown, Straffan, Co Kildare, where 'Fat' Freddie Thompson's gang stashed the two RPGs, an assault rifle and €630,000 worth of cocaine, was leased to a French national.

Gardai are seeking to quiz the man to establish if he can throw any light on the discovery of the weapons and drugs that were buried at the property.

Prior to this, gardai had been unaware that the premises had been linked to a Frenchman.

Thompson's outfit are known to have longstanding connections in southern Spain.

Details of Thompson's mass-murder mission continue to unravel and now involve a former member of John Gilligan's crew, dissident republicans and a high-profile Dublin drug dealer.

The gangster had already set in motion plans to organise a phoney peace meeting with the remaining members of King Ratt's gang at a public place and then use the rocket launchers to obliterate them, gardai believe.

Both crime gangs had began plotting to use grenades against each other as far back as 2004, when then Detective Superintendent PJ Browne was warned by an informant that they were in a race to obtain the deadly weapons.

"Senior officers at the force's headquarters were warned by me and some of my then staff over six years ago that a search was underway on the parts of both the King Ratt gang and 'Fat' Freddie's crew to acquire grenades," he said

"Chillingly, the informant also told us how they would be used. It was intended that which ever gang got them first, they would try to lure the other gang in large numbers to a pub and when all were assembled and settled a man would enter the property and throw a grenade into their midst -- with the intent that they would all be blown to pieces."

That threat emerged at the height of the Crumlin-Drimnagh feud following the shooting of Thompson's associate Paul Warren at Gray's pub on Newmarket Square on the south inner city.

It is understood that the grenade plot was meant to be used as retaliation for the shooting.