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POLICE SHOCKED Retired senior garda held over alleged Hutch mob links after €600k of cannabis found

Detectives investigating if former top cop passed confidential information to Monk's mob as they seize number of phones

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The former garda is linked to a gang headed by Gerry Hutch

The former garda is linked to a gang headed by Gerry Hutch

The former garda is linked to a gang headed by Gerry Hutch

Gardaí found drugs and cash at property linked to a former senior garda arrested this week as part of a probe into suspected collusion with members of the Hutch gang.

The retired officer was arrested on Wednesday on suspicion of enhancing the ability of a criminal organisation to commit or facilitate a serious offence.

Gardaí are investigating if the former top cop had received confidential information which was passed onto the Hutch gang.

Detectives seized a number of phones and electronic devices when they searched property linked to the man - including his home, vehicle and a shed in his back garden.

While officers expected to retrieve phones and electronic devices during the raid, they were shocked to discover €600,000 worth of cannabis and €47,000 in cash in property linked to the former senior garda.

Officers searched a number of properties on Wednesday as part of the operation, including the homes of two serving officers. They also carried out searches at a Garda station as part of the investigation.

One serving officer was suspended on Friday on foot of the investigation.

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Drug trafficker Sean Dunne had links to ex-garda

Drug trafficker Sean Dunne had links to ex-garda

Drug trafficker Sean Dunne had links to ex-garda

A second serving officer targeted in the searches was not suspended from the force.

No finding of any wrongdoing has been made in relation to either serving officer and neither have been arrested or accused of any offence. They were targeted as part of an evidence-gathering strand of the investigation.

The searches took place on the same day Gerry 'the Monk' Hutch was extradited from Spain to Ireland to face a charge of murder in relation to the Regency Hotel attack.

Gardaí seized several phones at the home of the former garda and are analysing them to establish whether they were used to contact members of the Hutch gang.

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The former senior garda had previously been subject to internal disciplinary proceedings within the force because of his dealings with informants, some of which were alleged to be in breach of strict protocol on how to deal with sources.

As well as being suspected of having links to the Hutch gang, sources say he had links to serious criminal Sean Dunne, from Donaghmede, in north Dublin, who went missing in Alicante in 2004 and is believed to have been murdered.

Dunne was a well-known figure in the underworld who graduated through the criminal ranks from armed robber to international drug trafficker at the time of his death.

Dunne was understood to be one of the now-retired garda's informants while he was still in the force.

Dunne's drugs operation grew from strength to strength over the years and he amassed a multi-million euro fortune from criminality.

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Gerry ‘The Monk’ Hutch being arrested by police in Spain

Gerry ‘The Monk’ Hutch being arrested by police in Spain

Gerry ‘The Monk’ Hutch being arrested by police in Spain

He was believed to have been murdered in 2004 when he went missing in Spain, where he had relocated to run a wholesale drugs operation supplying Irish gangs back home. His body has never been found and his killers have not been identified.

At the time of his death the Criminal Assets Bureau were seeking around €4 million from him.

Dunne was one of several criminal figures who the senior officer cultivated close contacts with during his time on the force.

He was also subject to internal inquiries in relation to running another informant off the books who was working in the drugs trade. He denied wrongdoing in the case and was not subject to any criminal proceedings in relation to the matter.

Gardaí suspect he has maintained connections with underworld figures since his retirement and are investigating whether he passed on information to the Hutch gang.

He had no involvement in policing the Kinahan-Hutch feud as he had retired years before it got underway.

Earlier this year, gardaí were concerned after social media accounts supportive of Hutch started posting information suggesting they had become aware plans were underway to arrest him in relation to the Regency Hotel attack.

Hutch appeared at the Special Criminal Court on Wednesday charged with the murder of David Byrne at the Regency Hotel, Swords Road, north Dublin, on February 5, 2016.

He spoke only to confirm his name at the hearing where a trial date was set for October 22 next year.

He is currently being held in Wheatfield Prison in an area housing other Hutch associates which is separated from other members of the prison population due to security concerns.

Meanwhile, another garda was suspended in a separate unrelated investigation this week into alleged leaking of information to the media.

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