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High flyer Gerry 'The Monk' Hutch jetted in and out of Spain to organise drug shipments

Hutch was caught on CCTV last March as he arrived at Spain's Malaga Airport with Patricia, his wife of almost 40 years, days before he became Ireland's most wanted fugitive.

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Gerry and Patricia Hutch at Malaga Airport in March

Gerry and Patricia Hutch at Malaga Airport in March

Gerry and Patricia Hutch at Malaga Airport in March

Gerry 'The Monk' Hutch was travelling in and out of Spain to organise drug shipments with international criminal gangs based on the Costa Del Sol.

Gardaí believe 'The Monk', who has long claimed to abhor drugs, had built up a strong presence amongst narco suppliers and logistics experts once linked to his old foe George 'The Penguin' Mitchell.

Hutch was caught on CCTV last March as he arrived at Spain's Malaga Airport with Patricia, his wife of almost 40 years, days before he became Ireland's most wanted fugitive.

The duo made their way through baggage and onto Passport Control where he presented his Irish registered document in his own name.

The couple then made their way to Fuengirola where a network of veteran Costa Del Crime ex-pats from Ireland keep a tight circle of trust and a network of international organised crime contacts.

Hutch had been spending increasing periods of time in southern Spain and while officers suspect he has been involved in the cannabis trade since the 1990's, even investing profits from a number of high-profile robberies into weed, they believe he has become more involved in hardcore drugs in recent years.

The north inner city Godfather, they believe, was forced to build a financial war chest after the disastrous attempt on the life of Daniel Kinahan at the Regency Hotel and the subsequent slaughter of his friends and family back home.

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Gerry 'The Monk' Hutch  strolls through the airport

Gerry 'The Monk' Hutch strolls through the airport

Gerry 'The Monk' Hutch strolls through the airport

Sources say he has forged close contacts with Moroccan, Turkish and South American cartels who once worked with fellow Dubliner George 'The Penguin' Mitchell.

While Mitchell offered Hutch no support since 2016 and warned associates in Dublin to stay away from the feud, he couldn't stop him muscling in on his business partners.

His links with foreign gangs has meant Hutch has been in and out of the Costa a lot over the past few years, despite the dangers from his rivals in the Kinahan Organised Crime Group, and he had spent protracted periods along the coast establishing new areas of his business.

Fuengirola has been a long-time centre of operations for a generation of 'old school' Irish crime lords who mix with cartels and supply gangs from Manchester and Liverpool with cannabis, cocaine and heroin.

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This weekend the funeral of The Monk's old pal Maurice 'Mo' O'Connor was broadcast live to a pub in the town as it took place in Manchester. O'Connor was a cannabis trafficker for three decades as a middle man on the Costa for Irish and UK gangs. In his memoir, The Dealer, he dedicated a chapter to his old pal 'The Monk' and his woes with the Criminal Assets Bureau.

The images of Hutch at Malaga Airport show him sporting long hair which he had been wearing along with a beard to disguise himself.

However, he had been collated in Spain a number of times in recent years, looking fit and meeting with serious figures in international organised crime.

Hutch has long tried to keep his wife Patricia Fowler in the background of his world. When the CAB came looking for his wealth he settled with them rather than lose the family home in Clontarf, where they portrayed an image of a working-class family who had done good.

The couple's children attended private school and have no involvement in crime while Hutch had moved out to Lanzarote in the past decade almost full time.

There he is believed to have looked after a secret property portfolio and often met with business contacts from Ireland on yachts so as not to alert police.

Hutch (58) had changed his appearance within days of the image being captured at Malaga when he realised he had an even more dominant enemy than Daniel Kinahan - the Irish State, which had issued a European Arrest Warrant for him.

Spanish police had no idea their quarry had a tip-off about the warrant and were waiting to pounce at Malaga when he was due to take a return flight back to Lanzarote days later. But he never turned up, sparking a four-month investigation to track him down which culminated in his August 12 arrest at Limoncello restaurant in Fuengirola.

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Spanish police swoop on Gerry Hutch, who was
with his wife in a restaurant at the time.

Spanish police swoop on Gerry Hutch, who was with his wife in a restaurant at the time.

Spanish police swoop on Gerry Hutch, who was with his wife in a restaurant at the time.

The head of the team tasked with finding and capturing him has said that Hutch wandered out on an apartment balcony as officers kept watch on the area sparking the ambush two days later.

The chief lieutenant of the Guardia Civil's UCO Fugitive Task Force, revealing exclusive details of the operation to snare Hutch in an interview, said: "We received a visit from the Garda, specifically from the Garda liaison officers who are here in Spain, about a month before the EAW against the Irish fugitive was issued in April.

"They told us that in Ireland they were planning to issue the warrant against this person over the Regency Hotel attack.

"They asked us to locate him first if we could before the order was issued. He lived in Lanzarote although we never saw him there but knew he had a house on the island.

"What happened is by the time we started looking for him he wasn't in Lanzarote anymore and we discovered he had flown to Malaga in March using his own passport in his name as he didn't need to use fake travel documents at that stage.

"We waited a day for him in the airport because we knew he had a return plane ticket to Lanzarote booked and we thought we'd be able to arrest him before he boarded.

"He never showed and we believe now he found out a EAW was going to be issued.

"It was issued around three or four days before he was booked to fly back to Lanzarote.

"We thought his arrest was going to be an easy job but it turned out to be much more difficult than we'd anticipated. "It was revealed soon afterwards in the Irish press that he had become a wanted man so that meant he knew for sure he was a fugitive and our formal investigation began.

"My team went to Lanzarote after the EAW was issued as part of the formal investigation but we never saw him living on the island.

"We knew he had flown to Malaga in March before he was made a wanted man and we were sure he was still somewhere in the province of Malaga for reasons I cannot go into.

"We also knew he had flown to Malaga Airport from Lanzarote with his wife who was with him the evening he was arrested.

"What struck us as interesting was that from the cameras at Malaga Airport, we saw he had shoulder-length-long hair and a beard.

"The next time we saw him was on the balcony of his rented home overlooking a public square two days before his arrest and by then he had shaved off his beard and cut his hair."

Officials at Spain's Audiencia Nacional Court in Madrid must now decide whether to give the green light to the extradition to Ireland Hutch is appealing. Officials confirmed earlier this week Gerry Hutch had said he was opposing extradition at a hearing before a judge in Madrid two days after his arrest.

It was the first time the court had confirmed he was refusing to be flown back to Ireland to face justice. Hutch's defence team are expected to argue he won't get a fair trial if returned to Ireland.

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