GANG boss 'Fat' Freddie Thompson was on his way to Madrid this evening to face major gangland charges.
He was due to be taken from Cloverhill Prison in a heavily armed escort by the gardai's Special Detective Unit before being handed over to Spanish authorities on the runway of at Dublin Airport.
When he arrives in Spain, Thompson (30) will be processed in a court in Madrid before being sent to a local jail.
He is expected to spend tonight in the Soto del Real prison near Madrid but he is then expected to be brought to the notorious Alhaurin de la Torre prison in southern Spain in the coming days as authorities build their case against him.
Thompson has been in Cloverhill Prison since being arrested by gardai on foot of a European Arrest Warrant 12 days ago.
Jail sources have revealed that Thompson was 'celeb prisoner number one' for his stay at Cloverhill. Officers with years of experience and raw recruits wanted to see the man behind the headlines.
While he was held in a segregation unit for the duration, he didn't seek out friendship even at recreation -- but he was not short of legal advice.
While his legal team had regular access to him, Thompson did not get any visitors until last Wednesday -- the day he agreed to be extradited to Spain.
His main visitor was his long time girlfriend Vicky Dempsey. His cousin Liam Brannigan from Bride Street also called as did two other men, one from Drimnagh and the other from John Rogerson's Quay.
John Dundon from the infamous Limerick crime family shouted legal advice from his cell below Freddie on D1.
Sources at the prison said Thompson indicated that being on bail in Spain would be a more attractive proposition.
"He was always polite and caused no trouble whatsoever," said a senior officer.
Among those on the D2 wing with him was Liam Adams, brother of Sinn Fein TD Gerry, who is awaiting extradition to the North on sex abuse charges. The wing is known to staff there as one which accommodates "the mad, the bad and the sad".
Sources say that Thompson's decision to agree to extradition to Spain to face gangland charges is a "tactical manoeuvre" to allow him continue his life of crime, gardai believe.
At the High Court last week, Thompson told a judge that he wanted to be sent to Spain straight away where he is wanted by Spanish authorities into the Christy Kinahan organisation -- who are a major international drugs gang led by Irish criminals based in Spain.