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Wednesday, 6 February 2008

Police on the Costas arrest Drug Gang and seized cocaine worth €7.7 million

Police arrested seven people and seized cocaine worth €7.7 million. Meanwhile, there was growing doubt yesterday as to whether Freddie Thompson, an associate of murdered gangland figure Paddy Doyle, was in a car with Doyle when he was shot dead in Spain on Monday. Detectives yesterday arrested an Irishman and six Britons, including a minor, and seized 110 kilos of cocaine hidden inside a lorry transporting furniture near to the murder spot.
Government spokesman Juan Jose Lopez Garzon said: “All the indications are that there is a link between the drugs and the dead man.” Gary Hutch, who was travelling in the car with Doyle, presented himself at a police station in Spain yesterday. Hutch was driving the BMW 4x4 in the town of Cancelada, in the resort of Estepona, on the Costa del Sol, with Doyle in the front passenger seat, when they came under attack from another car at lunchtime on Monday. The attackers sprayed the windscreen and front passenger door with five shots, forcing Hutch to career off the road, smashing into a lamp post. Both himself and Doyle tried to flee, but the gunmen ran after Doyle, aged 27, and fired two shots into his head. Hutch managed to escape. The initial reports suggested that Freddie Thompson was also in the car. But a number of Garda sources yesterday said they were not sure that Thompson was in the 4x4 and that there may have only been Doyle and Hutch.Sources said the initial information they received on Monday was that there were three people in the car — Doyle, Hutch and another man, who was said to have an English name. Local sources in Spain were saying this was Thompson. Doyle was a hit-man and trafficker for one of Ireland’s largest drug supply operations. He was a feared “enforcer” for the gang, which has been involved in a violent feud with another gang in the Crumlin-Drimnagh area of south Dublin. This feud has claimed at least nine lives since 2001. Doyle is suspected of involvement in the death of at least two of those men, Joseph Rattigan in July 2002 and Noel Roche in November 2005. He fled to Spain shortly after Roche’s death, where he became a key gang member in organising massive shipments of cocaine and cannabis back to Ireland. Garda sources suspect Doyle’s murder was organised, and carried out, by the rival gang. But they have not ruled out the possibility that he may have been murdered following a row with local drug suppliers.

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