Cartel 'gun for hire' being hunted after murder of innocent man in Dublin city centre
Gardai have identified a chief suspect for yesterday's shocking gangland murder and the Herald has learnt that he has worked as a 'gun for hire' for the Kinahan cartel in the past.
A manhunt was underway for the north-inner-city criminal last night after he was caught on CCTV having brutally killed a low-level criminal - named locally as Martin O'Rourke (24), who was not his intended target.
Senior cartel members 'Fat' Freddie Thompson and Liam Byrne remained in the capital last night, but it is understood that crime kingpin Daniel Kinahan is in the UK.
Cartel head Christy Kinahan is believed to be residing in Dubai. None of these gangsters are suspected of direct involvement in yesterday's shooting.
However, sources said that gardai are in "no doubt" that the cartel are behind yesterday's brutal murder of Mr O'Rourke.
The 25-year-old criminal who is the chief suspect for yesterday's murder has been arrested twice by Tallaght gardai investigating the slaying of Michael 'Mad Mickey' Devoy (41) in January, 2014.
'Mad Mickey' was murdered shortly after his release from Portlaoise Prison, and the main theory is that he was shot dead because he was the gunman for a botched murder attempt on heroin trafficker and cartel figure Greg Lynch three months earlier outside a northside pub.
Lynch was shot in the face, after a gunman opened fire on a crowd attending a 21st birthday party in Hanlon's pub on North Circular Road, but survived the reckless gun attack in which three innocent women also received gunshot injuries to their legs.
Gardai believe that the north inner-city criminal, who was being hunted last night, also murdered Devoy on behalf of the cartel.
The body of Devoy was riddled with bullets before it was discovered on the side of the road in Bohernabreena, Tallaght on the night of January 18, 2014.
A senior source told the Herald: "This 'gun for hire' is a heavy hitter in terms of organised crime and has close links to a number of gangs, including the Christy Kinahan cartel.
"He is involved in extortion, debt collection and is associated with Provos in the north inner city."
Sources say the young criminal is just one of a network of young thugs who are prepared to kill for money for the Kinahan cartel.
It is not clear whether he will now be under threat himself after he shot the wrong man yesterday, instead of intended target Keith Murtagh (32).
The cartel have now been involved in four out of the five murders linked to the deadly feud with associates of Gary Hutch, which kicked-off when Hutch was shot dead in Spain last September.
David Byrne, who was shot dead in the Regency Hotel gun attack, is the only cartel member who has been killed so far.
Gardai have mounted a large number of operations against the Kinahan cartel since the Regency Hotel attack.
Earlier this week, they seized 11 English-registered luxury vehicles in the latest raids targeting the cartel.
Detectives from the Criminal Assets Bureau, who were backed up by Revenue investigators, were involved in the search operation at a premises in west Dublin on Tuesday.
It is understood that gardai took the vehicles because of alleged Revenue-related offences.
The raids were linked to an operation last month in which around €1m worth of property and €100,000 in cash was seized when gardai raided 12 homes and six businesses in a series of dawn searches.
Last Friday, officers raided the homes of notorious heroin trafficker Greg Lynch and his father Gerard 'Bra' Brady, as well as an unoccupied property in the Oliver Bond flats complex - the family home of cartel figure Daniel Kinahan where he was brought up - as part of their ongoing investigations.