A Dublin gangster who has been on the run for a staggering 13 years is finally in custody after being arrested in the south of Spain.
The 54-year-old criminal, who was once considered one of the main drug traffickers in south Dublin and north Wicklow, was arrested by Spanish police following a surveillance operation.
He was one of the longest-term fugitives from Irish law and has been hiding in Europe since 2007. He is currently in a prison in Madrid waiting for an extradition hearing.
The middle-aged suspect was arrested under a European Arrest Warrant issued by Irish authorities when he absconded from the country after being granted bail.
He is facing charges in relation to a €1.4m seizure of cocaine and heroin which happened in Carrickmines, south Dublin, at the height of the Celtic Tiger coke scene.
"He was certainly one of the main men in terms of organised crime here in that era. All the indications are that he still has very serious links to gangs that are currently operating here," a senior source said last night.
"This individual has been on the run for over 13 years, which is a very rare thing, but he is now finally in custody. He is expected to be returned back here in the coming weeks once the extradition hearing is finalised."
It is understood some of the senior officers in the Blackrock drugs unit who led the investigation that led to the massive seizure have now retired. However, this should not have any bearing on his expected prosecution here.
The arrested man has not yet indicated whether he will fight extradition proceedings.
The drug kingpin is just the latest Irish gangster who is wanted here to be arrested by Spanish police.
They received a tip-off from gardaí as co-operation between the two police forces continues at a high level.
Spanish police previously arrested Kinahan cartel-aligned criminal Glen Holland (37) - who was arrested in Mountjoy Prison earlier this month as part of the investigation into intimidation in the Garda Adrian Donohoe murder trial.
Back in 2017, heavily armed Spanish police arrested north inner city thug Holland under a European Arrest Warrant. He spent over six years on the run from gardaí after being charged with serious drugs and firearms offences.
Holland later pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court in February 2018 to possession of two handguns, ammunition and possession of cocaine for sale or supply on September 20, 2010, at Rory O'Connor House in Dublin.
The seizure was part of the investigation into the murder of Eamon 'The Don' Dunne.
Another high-profile Dublin criminal arrested by armed police in Spain was Jason O'Driscoll (37).
Police said he was arrested with "absolute discretion" to make sure they did not alarm other passengers as he touched down at Alicante Airport on a flight from Belfast.
He was later convicted of murdering 31-year-old Anthony Burnett and 25-year-old Joseph Redmond in Co Louth on March 7, 2012.
The number of European Arrest Warrants sought in Ireland has increased by 51pc in the past five years - with 264 applications in the High Court in 2014 rising to 399 last year.