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Sunday 25 June 2017

'Mechanic' back in custody seven years after arrest over mob-linked rocket launchers

Forensics seize a rocket launcher in Co Kildare in May 2010. Photo: PA
Forensics seize a rocket launcher in Co Kildare in May 2010. Photo: PA

A convicted drug dealer known as 'The Mechanic' was one of four men arrested in the massive operation against the Kinahan cartel.

He was previously detained over the seizure of two RPG 22 rocket launchers linked to the mob.

The 44-year-old escaped serious charges in relation to the May 2010 bust which gardai believed was organised by his close pal cartel kingpin Liam Byrne (36).

'The Mechanic', who was still being grilled by detectives from the Drugs and Organised Crime Bureau (DOCB) last night, may not be so lucky this time after his arrest at Greenogue Industrial Estate on Tuesday morning.

He was sitting in a van with a 51-year-old major cartel figure when armed gardai pounced on them as a 32-year-old man gathered weapons in the west Dublin lock-up.

Firearms

Gardai recovered 15 firearms, including revolvers and semi-automatic weapons. One sub-machine gun and one assault rifle were also seized as well as 1,300 rounds of ammunition.

This is not the first time that 'The Mechanic',from Sallins, Co Kildare, has been arrested over a major firearms seizure.

In May 2010, in one of the first operations by gardai against the cartel, he was arrested near where detectives seized two Russian-made RPG-22 rocket launchers, an AK47 and nine kilos of cocaine during a raid in Straffan, Co Kildare.

At the time, the drug dealer was not long out of prison after he was jailed for six years for possession of more than €700,000 worth of heroin and cannabis for sale or supply.

Shot

'The Mechanic' earned his nickname for work that he did in the past for the major criminal who is suspected of being behind importing the massive consignment of drugs into the country.

The suspected firearms facilitator is a very close associate of slain gangster Gerard 'Hatchet' Kavanagh who was gunned down on the Costa del Sol in September, 2014.

Kavanagh was shot nine times by two masked men at Harmon's Irish bar in Elviria, near Marbella.

He was a senior member and enforcer for the crime gang and may have been killed by his own mob.

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