Gardaí intercept four key Kinahan gang members

Men questioned on suspicion of conspiracy to murder man linked to rival Hutch faction

The Garda operation involved members of the Garda’s Special Crime Operations Unit and was aided by the Emergency Response Unit and Armed Support Unit. File photograph: Niall Carson/PA Wire

The Garda operation involved members of the Garda’s Special Crime Operations Unit and was aided by the Emergency Response Unit and Armed Support Unit. File photograph: Niall Carson/PA Wire

 

Four significant members of the Kinahan crime syndicate have been arrested with a firearm and silencer that gardaí believe was about to be used in a Dublin gangland murder.

Those arrested had been under surveillance for some time before gardaí moved in on them as they were travelling in a car in Fairview on Monday evening.

All four were being questioned on suspicion of conspiracy to murder a man linked to the rival Hutch faction.

One of the men detained is a violent criminal suspected of a high-profile gun murder for which he was never convicted. The 38-year-old has served lengthy prison sentences for violent crime and has also issued death threats, treated as credible by the Garda, against gardaí and journalists.

One of his close associates, a 23-year-old, was also detained in the operation. He has previously survived an attempt to murder him.

A third suspect, a 35-year-old from Dublin 8, is a key figure in the Kinahan operation in Crumlin and Drimnagh.

Awaiting trial

This group of men, some of whom are in prison awaiting trial on feud-related charges, were close to David Byrne, the 34-year-old Crumlin man shot dead in the Regency Hotel gun attack in February of last year.

The fourth man detained is regarded as a less significant figure in the feud, but gardaí are treating all four as suspects in the attack that detectives believe was about to be carried out when they were intercepted.

Gardaí believe the men were on their way to shoot dead a man in his 20s from the north inner city closely associated with murdered criminal Gary Hutch, whose murder by the Kinahan gang in Spain in September 2015 was the first gun killing in the feud.

The suspected target had recently completed a jail term for a violent crime not linked to the feud. At least two efforts were made to murder him in prison, one of which left him with non-fatal stab wounds. The second attempt was thwarted when a makeshift knife was found by prison staff.

The Garda operation involved members of the Garda’s Special Crime Operations Unit and was aided by the Emergency Response Unit and Armed Support Unit.

Criminal Justice Act

The four suspects were detained under Section 50 of the Criminal Justice Act, which allows them to be detained for up to seven days.

A firearm, a silencer and the vehicle the men were travelling in were seized by gardaí for examination.

Assistant Commissioner John O’Driscoll, who leads Special Crime Operations, said about 40 “planned assassinations of targeted persons” linked to the feud had now been foiled.

“The fight against the feuding factions since the feud violence first erupted in Dublin 20 months ago had also resulted in the seizure of high calibre weaponry and significant sums of money,” he said, adding that the force would “continue to target those criminals who consider themselves to be beyond the law”.