Six people including convicted drug dealer John Gilligan were arrested yesterday by Spanish police in an international operation to break up the sale and supply of drugs in Ireland and the UK.
Police in Spain arrested John Gilligan yesterday at a premises in Alicante and proceeded to search the building.
A Colt Python revolver, buried in the garden, was uncovered in the search.
Four packages of drugs containing more than 15,000 pills and four kilos of cannabis buds were seized. This is in addition to 11,000 pills and four kilos of of cannabis buds already seized after a search of four other premises.
📽Detenido un conocido criminal irlandés que lideraba un grupo dedicado al envío postal de #marihuana y #medicamentos hipnóticos a #ReinoUnido e #Irlanda— Policía Nacional (@policia) October 23, 2020
En la operación hay 6 arrestados en #Alicante y se han interceptado 4 paquetes de 4 kilos de marihuana y 15.000 pastillas pic.twitter.com/AFUeZlLTEs
Spanish police say the discovered weapon is now under investigation and a ballistics analysis into a possible connection with the 1996 murder of Irish journalist Veronica Guerin is now underway.
Police in Spain believe the gun is the same make and model used in the shooting 24 years ago.
An Garda Síochána and the UK National Crime Agency took part in the international operation, which began last year after the discovery of an international gang operating in the regions of Torrevieja and Orihuela Costa.
Gardaí said they do not comment on ongoing investigations or operations carried out by other police forces.
Last year, Mr Gilligan was stopped at Belfast International Airport with €22,280 cash as he was about to board a flight to Alicante.
Prosecutors argued that he intended to purchase a prescription drug in Spain for distribution on the drugs market in Ireland.
His defence said it was a tenuous case.
A magistrate dismissed the case.