Gardaí arrest three men found with guns near Ratoath

Men believed to be linked to Hutch gang found with rifles after death of Noel Duggan

Gardaí examine a BMW in Cairn Court near the scene  of a fatal shooting in the Old Mill Estate, Ratoath, Co Meath. Photograph: Colin Keegan, Collins Dublin.

Gardaí examine a BMW in Cairn Court near the scene of a fatal shooting in the Old Mill Estate, Ratoath, Co Meath. Photograph: Colin Keegan, Collins Dublin.

 

Three men believed to be linked to the Hutch gang have been arrested in Co Meath after being found in possession of assault rifles and ammunition.

Two assault rifles and several hundred rounds of ammunition were found when two vehicles were stopped near Ratoath, Co Meath, near where Noel Duggan was shot dead on Wednesday night. A follow-up operation led to the discovery of two semi-automatic guns, silencers and further ammunition.

The firearms include two AK47s like those used in the attack at the Regency Hotel last month that claimed the life of David Byrne. The Irish Times understands the guns and ammunition are owned by one side in the feud and the men arrested last night are linked to Gary Hutch.

Gardaí are trying to establish if the guns were being moved by that side of the Hutch-Kinahan feud for use in a revenge attack following the murder of Duggan.

Tests will be carried out on the AK47s in a bid to establish if they were used in the Regency attack.

Detectives are keeping an open mind on the possible motives for the murder of Duggan, a well-known cigarette smuggler who was shot dead as he sat in his Mercedes car outside his home on the Old Mill estate, on Wednesday.

Centre of dispute

Gerry Hutch

He has found himself at the centre of a dispute between those loyal to his nephew Gary Hutch (34) and the drugs gang led from Spain by Dubliner Christy Kinahan.

Gerry Hutch’s brother Eddie Hutch (58), a father of five and taxi driver, was shot dead last month because he was a member of the Hutch family and despite the fact he was not involved in organised crime.

Gardaí believe members of the Kinahan gang shot dead Eddie Hutch in revenge for the murder of one of its members, David Byrne (33), at the Regency Hotel, Drumcondra, three days earlier.

The Kinahan gang are the chief suspects for the murder of Gary Hutch in Spain last year.

Cigarette smuggling

“When you have lots of relationships and there is plenty of money flying around, things can go wrong, people can get greedy and it can escalate very fast,” said one source.

While a number of men linked to Gary Hutch and Dublin-based members of the Kinahan gang had been warned by gardaí their lives were in danger, there was no such intelligence available about Duggan.

“We had no intelligence either that his life was at risk or that there was any issue about him being a target for such an event,” said Supt James Cannon who is leading the murder investigation at Ashbourne Garda station. He declined to comment on the dead man’s links with Gerry Hutch.

Supt Cannon said the inquiry team wanted to speak to any witnesses who saw a man in dark clothing running from the murder scene after the shooting and on to the nearby Fairyhouse Road.

Gardaí were also interested in a dark-coloured car, possibly a BMW, driving on to the Fairyhouse Road and heading in the direction of Fairyhouse, Supt Cannon added.

Anybody with relevant information is asked to contact Ashbourne station.