denies claims | 

Top detective arrested over alleged links between corrupt ex-garda and the Hutch gang

Following the arrest of the Special Detective Unit detective this week, it emerged that around €40,000 in cash and a number of rounds of ammunition were also seized

Former Garda Superintendent John 'Spud' Murphy

Patrick O'ConnellSunday World

A top detective who was arrested this week was lifted as part of the same probe examining links between corrupt ex-garda John ‘Spud’ Murphy and the Hutch gang,

Following his arrest, the detective – who is attached to the garda Special Detective Unit - was questioned in relation to a series of alleged messages discovered by investigators.

He was held for a number of hours at Ashbourne Garda Station in Co Meath on Wednesday.

He was later released without charge, and a file will now be prepared for the Director of Public Prosecutions.

It is understood the officer has staunchly denied any wrongdoing.

Following the arrest of the SDU detective this week, it emerged that around €40,000 in cash and a number of rounds of ammunition were also seized.

But it’s understood the detective told investigators he had a legitimate reason for possession of the large cash sum.

The SDU is responsible for investigating the activities of serious criminals, including Irish and international terrorist and organised crime groups.

Because of the nature of their duties, SDU officers carry firearms.

RTÉ first revealed details of the arrest on Friday evening, and sources confirmed that investigators also removed documents and electronic devices as part of the investigation.

Laptops and mobile phones are being forensically examined for emails, texts, and voice messages.

The arrested detective has worked on a number of investigations into dissident republican terror groups, including the New IRA.

He has been involved in a number of extremely sensitive and dangerous undercover operations, which has led to the seizure of explosives and other illegal material as well as the arrests of terror suspects.

Gardaí confirmed details of the detective’s arrest later on Friday evening.

“As part of an on-going criminal investigation by the Garda National Bureau of Criminal Investigation (NBCI), a ­member of An Garda Síochána was arrested earlier this week,” a garda spokesman said in a statement.

“The garda was subsequently released without charge ­pending a file to the DPP. The garda is suspended.”

More arrests are expected as part of the long-running NBCI investigation into the Hutch gang.

The arrest of the detective, which has sent shockwaves throughout the force, is the latest development in an ongoing probe into allegations the Hutch gang corrupted a number of officers – including disgraced former Supt. John Murphy.

Murphy’s links to the Hutch gang are believed to stretch back to when he was still a serving officer.

Murphy was jailed for six and a half years last October after being caught holding cannabis resin worth nearly €260k.

As part of the ongoing corruption probe, Murphy who is now housed in the Midlands Prison in Portlaoise, was arrested in late January and taken from his cell to a Dublin garda station to face questioning by officers with the National Bureau of Criminal Investigation.

NCBI detectives are understood to be gathering evidence of the former garda’s links with Gerry ‘the Monk’ Hutch and are investigating if the latter can be charged with directing a crime gang.

During Murphy’s sentencing hearing, Dublin Circuit Criminal Court heard how he had built up financial debts of €855,000 due to poor business decisions made in the 10 years after he retired from the force.

Michael O'Higgins SC, defending, said that Murphy had “whatever the opposite of the Midas touch is” and that any investments he made “went down the drain”.

Counsel said that Murphy was consuming large amounts of alcohol every day “for as long as anyone could remember” and was a functioning alcoholic.

He said his drinking had “clouded his judgement and brought him to this sorry pass”.

Gerry Hutch is currently on remand in prison awaiting a verdict in the Regency Hotel murder trial.

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