Drugs gangs face crackdown in both Ireland and Spain

Gardaí assist Guardia Civil officers in Spain

Gardaí have pledged further joint operations with foreign police after hailing the seizures and arrest made in yesterday’s co-ordinated raids as very significant.

Officers from the Guardia Civil in Spain, the Garda Drugs and Organised Crime Bureau, the Criminal Assets Bureau and Europol worked together to plan and carry out the simultaneous early morning raids in southern Spain and Dublin.

Six homes in Dublin and five properties in Marbella and Malaga were searched and large amounts of cash and documentation seized.

Police in Spain also arrested a Spanish-based Dublin criminal for last year’s murder of Gary Hutch whose death kicked off the bloody Hutch-Kinahan feud and cost seven more lives, six of them in Dublin.

Detective Superintendent Tony Howard said the operation had taken weeks of planning and the Guardia Civil had provided invaluable assistance, as had members of the gardaí working in Spain to assist their Spanish counterparts.

“This type of operation will happen again. We have been talking to other law enforcement agencies in mainland Europe and in the UK and that’s the way it should be because criminals don’t recognise borders. We will follow the trail wherever it takes us,” he said.

Guardia Civil and gardaí arrest a Dublin criminal suspected of carrying out the murder of Gary Hutch.
Guardia Civil and gardaí arrest a Dublin criminal suspected of carrying out the murder of Gary Hutch.

The Spanish detectives in Ireland and the gardaí in Spain were working chiefly on identifying and tracking suspects and on interpreting and assessing the importance of financial documentation and other papers in their respective languages, said Det Supt Howard.

Justice Minister Frances Fitzgerald, praised the operation and said it was an example of the kind of co-operation discussed when she and her Spanish counterpart met during the summer to cement their commitment to working together against organised crime gangs.

“Organised crime operates with little regard for international borders and it is vital therefore that governments and law enforcement agencies work in close co-operation to combat the gangs involved.I am determined that Irish criminals will not escape justice by fleeing the jurisdiction, or by seeking to conduct their noxious activities from elsewhere,” she said.

The man arrested in Spain is expected to appear in court there today. Under the Spanish criminal justice system, his case is expected to be assigned to an examining magistrate and he may be kept in pre-trial detention or released subject to conditions until a full investigation is complete.

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