NewsCrime Desk

Associate of slain gangster arrested as 'kill kit' found near Hutch home

Arrests were made by at a Garda Armed Support Unit check-point
Arrests were made by at a Garda Armed Support Unit check-point

AN ASSOCIATE of slain Regency gangster David Byrne was arrested and a ‘kill-kit’, including a loaded Glock handgun, motorcycle helmet, gloves and jerrycan full of petrol, was seized after a hit was foiled deep in Hutch mob territory on Friday night.

The 24-year-old Kinahan associate and a 26-year-old, both from the north inner-city, were arrested after a moped was stopped by an Armed Support Unit check-point on the North Strand, Dublin, at 10pm Friday.

Sources say the arrests occurred after armed officers pursued a vehicle that turned away from the checkpoint shortly after a moped was stopped.

The vehicle was apprehended by gardaí in the vicinity of a second  car, which officers suspect could later have been used as a getaway.

A search of the first vehicle uncovered the ‘kill-kit’.

Sources say they believe the arrests – which involved the seizure of two cars – prevented what would have been the 13th murder in the 19-month Hutch-Kinahan feud.

Gardaí were yesterday attempting to identify the target of the suspected attack, in the belief a hit on the Hutch mob may have been authorised by the cartel as revenge for the May 31 murder of Michael Keogh.

Kinahan Cartel target James ‘Mago’ Gately’s family home is located near to where the cars were initially sighted by Gardaí, while Gerry Hutch’s brother Patsy lives just a few hundred metres away.

Patsy’s house is monitored 24/7 by Gardaí.

Gately survived an attempted hit on his life on May 10 thanks to a bullet-proof jacket he was wearing when gunmen attacked him at a Topaz petrol station in Clonshaugh, north Dublin. Gately was hit up to five times, including once in the neck during the attack. However, four shots were lodged into his bullet-proof vest, saving his life.

Sources said yesterday the initial belief is that Friday night’s arrests may have prevented a hit on a member of the Hutch mob.

A list of associates of the 24-year-old arrested man who was arrested at the scene, was yesterday being examined by Gardaí as part of a probe.

The man is a close associate of a woman who is involved with a notorious hitman who was arrested in the Baiba Saulite and Daithi Douglas murder probes.

The 24-year-old was also previously pictured with slain Regency gangster and key Kinahan Cartel member David Byrne.

He is also linked with a major up-and-coming criminal who has become the main distributor for the cartel in Finglas. Sources described the 24-year-old as “a real empty head who would do anything for a few quid”. 

“He would be involved in stealing cars and high-powered bikes and is also linked to drug dealing,” said the source. “He’d be very active but usually for more minor stuff.”

A source yesterday described the arrests as significant.

“The 24-year-old would be known as a loose cannon with ties to associates on both sides of the feud,” a source told the Sunday World.

“This complicates the inquiry as loyalties are shifting constantly.

“He is not considered a major gangland criminal.”

The 24-year-old is currently before the courts on a charge relating to false imprisonment.

Friday night’s arrests come five days after Police in the U.K. arrested cartel gunman Johnny Keogh in Essex, after he attempted to buy a fake passport which he intended to use to fly to Cyprus.

Armed officers from the U.K.’s elite National Crime Agency arrested Keogh (31), in the early hours of Sunday morning last.

Convicted INLA bombmaker Keogh is wanted for questioning by Gardaí in connection with the murder of Gareth Hutch on May 1, 2016.

He is believed to have left Ireland within days of Gareth Hutch’s murder and was thought to have spent time in the North of England.

A source has told the Sunday World that Keogh knew the Gardaí were looking for him and he had been planning to fly out to Cyprus.

Keogh had told pals he was going to fly out to the Turkish controlled half of Cyprus before then jetting on to Dubai, where he was going to join Daniel Kinahan.

However, it is believed he was nabbed by British cops after attempting to source a fake passport in London.

Video footage showed how Keogh was arrested and cuffed at the scene after his car was surrounded by armed officers in the early hours of Sunday morning last.

Up to six police units were involved in the arrest on Victoria Road shortly before 1am.

In relation to the arrest, a Garda spokesman said: “The NCA, in conjunction with An Garda Síochána and the London Metropolitan Police have arrested a 31-year-old man in the Romford area of Essex in the UK on foot of a European Arrest warrant.”

Gareth Hutch (35), was shot dead at the Avondale House apartment complex in North Cumberland Street, Dublin 1, in May last year.

CCTV footage showed two gunmen, with their faces covered, approaching Gareth Hutch from behind before shooting him a number of times.

Johnny’s brother Michael became the latest victim of the Hutch-Kinahan feud when he was gunned down in the city centre last month.

Michael (37), was considered a soft target and is not believed to have been directly involved in the ongoing feud.