Two arrested, loaded gun seized in raid linked to Kinahan-Hutch feud
Gardaí intervene in ‘a potential threat to life incident’ during intelligence-led operation
The two men – in their 20s and 30s – who were arrested, are still be held under the Offences Against The State Act at Clondalkin Garda station. Photograph: An Garda Síochána/Twitter
The arrests of two men in Dublin in an anti-gangland operation may be significant to the investigations into botched efforts to shoot John Gilligan dead and also into the Kinahan-Hutch feud killings of Eddie Hutch and Noel Duggan.
Gardaí believe one of the two men arrested at a house in west Dublin on Friday is a key member of a Dublin-based faction of the Kinahan cartel. That group within the cartel targeted Gilligan and murdered Mr Hutch, a taxi driver and brother of veteran criminal Gerry Hutch, as well as murdering Mr Duggan, who was a close associate of Gerry Hutch.
John Gilligan, the 67-year-old leader of the gang that murdered crime journalist Veronica Guerin in 1996, was targeted a number of times after his release from prison six years ago.
He was wounded multiple times but survived when gunmen burst into his brother’s home in Clondalkin, west Dublin, in March, 2014, in a targeted murder bid.
That was the second attempt on his life with the first made in December, 2013, just three months after his release from prison. On that occasion a gunman went to the wrong pub looking for Mr Gilligan.
While the efforts to kill Mr Gilligan were not part of the Kinahan-Hutch feud, members of the Kinahan cartel is a suspect.
Eddie Hutch’s murder was part of the Kinahan-Hutch feud and gardaí believe he was murdered simply because he was a member of the Hutch family.
The 59-year-old father-of-five was shot dead at his home on Poplar Row in Dublin’s north inner city on February 8th, 2016.
His killing was retaliation for the deadly Regency Hotel attack days earlier, in which Kinahan associate David Byrne (32), Crumlin, Dublin, was killed and an effort was made to shoot dead Daniel Kinahan (42).
Noel Duggan’s murder outside his home in Ratoath, Co Meath, in March, 2016, was also part of the Kinahan-Hutch feud. The 55-year-old cigarette smuggler was gunned down in a series of attacks on people close to Gerry Hutch.
Gardaí believe the arrest of one of the two men in Dublin on Friday night effectively strikes a serious blow against the faction within the Kinahan cartel that tried to kill John Gilligan and is suspected of the murders of Eddie Hutch and Noel Duggan.
The arrest of the two men and the seizure of a loaded semi-automatic pistol and ammunition occurred in Clondalkin shortly before midnight on Friday.
The National Drugs and Organised Crime Bureau as well as officers from the Crime and Security Section, the Emergency Response Unit and the Dublin Metropolitan Region made the arrests and found the loaded gun when they carried out an intelligence-led raid on a house.
The men, in their 20s and 30s, were still being held under Section 30 of the Offences Against the State Act at Clondalkin Garda station.
The older man is regarded is a key member of the group within the Kinahan cartel linked to the effort to murder Gilligan and the Eddie Hutch and Noel Duggan murders.
Series of raids
Along with a number of his associates, the older man has been under intense investigation in recent years by the Garda and had left the jurisdiction as a result. He is believed to have returned in Ireland very recently and his life is under threat from the Hutch faction.
“This is yet another successful intervention by the Garda Síochána in a potential threat to life incident, involving the seizure of a loaded firearm and the arrest of suspects,” said Assistant Commissioner John O’Driscoll of Special Crime Operations of Friday night’s operation in Clondalkin.
The raid was the latest in a series of operations by the Garda Drugs and Organised Crime Bureau in which load firearms have been seized from criminals aligned to the feud. In many cases the suspects were on their way to carry out feud-related attacks when intercepted and arrested.
Gardaí suspect the older man arrested in Clondalkin on Friday had a loaded firearm with him because he was so fearful he would be murdered.
The arrested men can be questioned without charge for up to three days, at which point they must be charged with an offence or released without charge.
Separately, gardaí in Longford seized cocaine with an estimated street value of €72,000 and arrested two men in an apartment in Granard on Friday.
The men in their 30s were set to appear at before sitting of Longford District Court on Saturday evening.
The operation was part of ongoing investigations into the sale and supply of drugs and related criminal activity in the Longford area.