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Jingle hell John Gilligan forks out €12,000 bail to get out of Spanish jail for Christmas

He is thought to have returned to the villa near the Costa Blanca town of Torrevieja where he was arrested so he can celebrate Christmas with his partner.

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John Gilligan

John Gilligan

PA

John Gilligan

JOHN Gilligan paid €12,000 to get out of Fontcalent prison in Alicante so he could spend Christmas with his English girlfriend.

The convicted drug smuggler secured his freedom with the bail deposit less than two months after being caged following his arrest for suspected drugs and weapons offences.

The size of the payment the 68-year-old had to make before he was allowed out was revealed today as he began his second week of conditional bail following a successful attempt by his lawyers to rescue him from his cell while the court probe against him continues.

Gilligan, arrested on October 20 after a gun was found buried in the garden of his Costa Blanca home, has been banned from leaving Spain and ordered to sign on every fortnight at court as part of his release conditions.

He is thought to have returned to the villa near the Costa Blanca town of Torrevieja where he was arrested so he can celebrate Christmas with his partner.

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Bail: John Gilligan was arrested for suspected drugs and weapons offences in October. Photo: Collins Courts

Bail: John Gilligan was arrested for suspected drugs and weapons offences in October. Photo: Collins Courts

Bail: John Gilligan was arrested for suspected drugs and weapons offences in October. Photo: Collins Courts

Gilligan and his girlfriend, a British woman, were among six people held by police.

The arrests took place following a lengthy police investigation into a drug smuggling gang the Dublin-born drugs baron allegedly led.

Detectives said at the time they had seized four kilos of marijuana and 15,000 powerful sleeping pills called zimmos which heroin addicts use to help them sleep and numb pain.

Gilligan had been expected to stay behind bars for at least six months and could have been kept in prison without charge for at least two years.

A judicial source said of Gilligan’s unexpected release, approved by a judge at Torrevieja’s Court of Instruction Number One: “The individual’s defence lawyer requested his conditional release on bail and the state prosecution service did not oppose the request.

“The court agreed to release this person on bail because it considers the investigation is nearly completed and less burdensome measures can be adopted for the person under investigation that will also guarantee he does not escape the action of justice.

“As conditions of his release, as well as the payment of bail, he has been banned from leaving Spain, his passport has been removed and he has to sign on every fortnight at court.

“The investigation against this person and five others is ongoing.”

Gilligan and the five other suspects are being investigated as part of a probe opened into alleged public health crimes, unlawful possession of firearms and membership of a criminal gang.

They have not yet been charged, as formal charges are only laid in Spain shortly before trial.

All six are currently classified as ‘investigados’ under Spanish law, which means simply that they are under formal investigation on suspicion of having committed the crimes they are being probed over.

State prosecutors have not yet been invited to submit a formal accusation against them in the form of an indictment.

Gilligan had been the only one of the six remanded in prison after an early court hearing.

Gilligan previously was convicted of importing two tons of cannabis resin worth £32 million and sentenced to 28 years in prison.

His home in Spain was a €300,000 four-bed villa, on a nondescript residential estate a ten-minute drive from Torrevieja town centre, where he was living with the new woman in his life following his split from wife Geraldine.

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