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Monk sunk Gardai may have to wait months to quiz Gerry ‘The Monk’ Hutch after his arrest in Spain

The veteran criminal is now facing extradition to Ireland to face charges in connection with the Regency Hotel shooting.

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Gerry 'The Monk' Hutch

Gerry 'The Monk' Hutch

Gerry 'The Monk' Hutch

GARDAÍ expect it could be several months before they get to question Gerry ‘The Monk’ Hutch over his alleged involvement in the Regency Hotel attack.

The 58-year-old was taken into custody by Spanish police on the Costa del Sol yesterday on foot of a European Arrest Warrant. Detectives have long believed Hutch was behind the 2016 Regency attack, which shocked the country.

He is currently being held by Spanish police and is expected to be brought before a judge in the next few days.

In theory, the Dubliner could be handed over to gardaí within days, but officers believe he is likely to contest his extradition.

If that happens, he will be held in a Spanish prison, most likely in Madrid, while a legal process is initiated.

Ultimately, a Spanish judge would then have to sign-off on him being returned to Ireland.

The evidenced used by gardaí to secure the European Arrest Warrant last April would be used in any hearing.

In April, a European Arrest Warrant was issued for Hutch as part of the long-running garda investigation into the murder of Kinahan Cartel criminal David Byrne.

In the aftermath of the Regency Hotel shooting, The Monk fled Ireland as the Kinahan gang placed a target on his head.

His brother Eddie, his close pal Noel ‘Kingsize’ Duggan and two of his nephews were all murdered as part of the bloody Hutch-Kinahan feud.

Hutch is believed to have spent most the last few years in mainland Spain - away from Marbella where his arch rivals still have key personnel.

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He is understood to have travelled in and out of Lanzarote where he once had a yacht which he used for meetings and business affairs.

However, Hutch’s days in the sun now look numbered as he will, almost inevitably, be extradited to Ireland to face trial.

It is believed that a heart-to-heart conversation that ‘The Monk’ had with a pal - shortly after the Regency Hotel shooting - as gardai bugged their car will lie at the centre of the State's case against him.

The conversation took place as officers suspected 'The Monk' was desperately trying to return guns used in the attack to Northern Ireland.

High tech surveillance equipment was used to record and trace the car as it took Hutch over the border to Newry where he met with a number of individuals and back to the Republic.

The Sunday World understands that following the so-called 'spectacular' in the Regency Hotel, the Special Detective Unit were charged with investigating any involvement by Hutch in the planning of the attack.

The SDU are responsible for monitoring terrorist activity but given the threat to the security of the State by the use of those linked to paramilitary groups and their weapons, the Hutch faction were deemed for priority policing while the dismantling of the Kinahan mafia was considered a more long term operation.

It is understood that Hutch may have admitted his own role in planning the assault and murder during the recorded chat and making him the number one target of Gardai investigating the Regency.

Hutch was in semi-retirement when Gardai say he planned the Regency and gambled that his spectacular would send a message that he was a powerful force in organised crime with the backing of the IRA.

Instead, mistake after mistake backfired and when he accepted a lift to Newry weeks before the AK47s used in the Regency attack were seized he let down his guard.

Gerry Hutch has previously served time behind bars as young man in the 1970s and 80s but has avoided serious convictions since.

His gang was said to have amassed an estimated IR£40 million from a series of bank robberies throughout the 80s.and 90s.

Hutch eventually reached an £1.2m settlement with the Criminal Assets Bureau.

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