A DRUG dealer arrested in relation to the murder of a man who vanished without trace 21 months ago is also the chief suspect for organising the gun murder of a criminal ex-garda.
The 53-year-old Traveller criminal was today being grilled by detectives at Carrickmacross Garda Station about the murder of his former close pal Gerard Daly (43), who went missing from his Co Cavan home in June, 2011.
The suspect – who is involved in drug dealing and armed robberies – is also believed to have played a central role in last November's murder of former garda John Kerins (49).
All three men were previously very friendly and worked together on a number of serious criminal enterprises but a cash dispute between Daly and the Traveller split up their gang and has now led to two murders, senior sources believe.
Associates of the Traveller criminal believe the body of Tallaght man Gerard Daly has been dumped in waste ground in west Dublin.
Gardai have not excavated this "massive dumping ground" in Dublin for Daly, but searched an underground cannabis growhouse in Co Cavan controlled by the suspect in a major search for Daly's body last April. It is not yet known whether officers will search the Dublin site.
No sign of Daly's remains were found and a massive investigation involving gardai, PSNI, Interpol, Europol and police forces in England had continued before yesterday's arrest.
The Herald can reveal that the 53-year-old suspect has been under surveillance since John Kerins was murdered last November.
He is also suspected of organising a post office robbery.
A source explained: "This really is a very bad business. You are talking about three middle-aged individuals who all re-located from their homes and moved to a very rural area near Bailieboro, Co Cavan, and set up a massive criminal enterprise.
"Everything went well for them for a while but a financial disagreement would have major implications.
"After Gerard Daly was murdered because of this, pressure started to come on the former garda when other gang members thought he would inform on the situation to gardai.
"They then decided to take John Kerins out in the most savage way."
Kerins was found with gunshot wounds to his head in the rural property he had lived in.
Kerins, who was facing charges in relation to the theft of plant machinery in Co Cork, became involved with the dangerous local gang who were involved in drug dealing and armed robbery, a number of years earlier.
And sources say that he "most definitely" had knowledge of what happened to Gerard Daly.
Gardai have always suspected that Daly was the victim of foul play and sources say that detectives have always been confident that he was murdered by someone he knew.