A MYSTERY gangster who counted Gary Hutch as a close friend can today be exposed by the Irish Sun as a ‘fixer’ for ruthless rival mob the Kinahans.
Martin Cervi — who straddled both sides of the warring Kinahan and Hutch gangs during his criminal career — was recently found dead in Holland after suffering a suspected heart attack.
The 39-year-old originally hailed from the East Wall in Dublin’s north inner city, and although his only convictions were for car theft and criminal damage, we can now reveal his role at the heart of one of Europe’s most dangerous gangs.
Secret Spanish police files obtained by us into the origins of the Kinahan mob show how Cervi:
l ACTED as a ‘facilitator’ for the Kinahan gang
l WAS a close associate of Christy ‘Dapper Don’ Kinahan’s right-hand man and notorious kidnapper John Cunningham, 64
l WAS as a suspect in the pub murder of drug dealer Raymond Sallinger, 40, in Dublin’s south inner city on January 28, 2003
l SENT mules to Bolivia with lead-lined suitcases to transport drugs.
According to the explosive documents on the Kinahan gang and their associates, Cervi played a part in the underworld outfit.
One extract read: “He is not a direct organiser of the gang but is a facilitator in relation to enforcement of their activities.
“At one time, he sourced his illegal drugs and firearms from the gang. He is also a close associate of John Cunningham and other senior figures of the Kinahan gang.”
Other associates of Cervi include Gary Hutch, 34, whose murder at the hands of the Kinahans in Spain last September ignited the feud between the two rival mobs.
A source said: “Cervi was well known to gardai as someone who worked with the Kinahan gang.
“He had distanced himself from the Kinahans in recent years and often went out on his own.
“Cervi may have kept his distance from the main players recently but he remained loyal to Gary Hutch because they were both from the north inner city area.
“He was also a close associate of the man suspected of murdering Eamon ‘The Don’ Dunne and got involved with the gang when he was a young man in 1997.
“He was one of a number of young men suspected of involvement in Sallinger’s murder on the orders of Christy Kinahan.”
We also obtained exclusive images of Cervi during his time with the Kinahan outfit.
In the first photo, he poses for the camera while testing a firearm during a trip to the US.
In another, Cervi is pictured during his time in Holland.
The Spanish police files also contain extracts of secret wire tap recordings between Cervi and Cunningham in Holland.
At the time, two investigators from the former Garda National Drug Unit — replaced last year by the Drugs and Organised Crime Bureau — were dispatched to Holland to offer assistance.
The officers flew to Holland to provide intelligence and to help with any language barriers.
In one extract, Cunningham, who was jailed for 17 years in 1986 for kidnapping Jennifer Guinness, revealed how he thought he was being followed by police.
And when the Irish officers told their counterparts to remove the surveillance team, Cunningham told his pal he was “clear”.
But Cunningham’s luck ran out just 24 hours later when armed police swooped in Amsterdam.
The hood — who is classed as “running the activities” of the Kinahan gang with the Dapper Don’s son Daniel, 38 — was caught with a loaded Browning pistol, a false UK passport and a driving licence in the name of ‘John Hayton’.
Dutch police also raided Cunningham’s home and another flat in the Dutch capital and discovered a €10million haul of drugs — including amphetamines, 100,000 ecstasy tablets and cannabis.
And in another unusual recording of Cunningham and Cervi’s call, the assisting garda officers told their counterparts how a ‘jimmy riddle’ was slang for urinating.
Fallen kingpin John Gilligan, 62, was also referred to in the telephone recordings as “the man with the little legs”. Cervi — who was well known in the north inner city area of the capital — was first linked to the Kinahan crime gang on November 13, 1997.
On that occasion, Operation Gemini detectives recovered €4.3million worth of cannabis and speed.
On the same day, gardai stormed a house linked to Cervi in north Dublin and recovered a Bruni automatic pistol, a revolver, ammunition and £24,000.
Cervi later fled to Holland where he forged close links to Cunningham and worked for the Kinahans.
Although he returned to Ireland in 2000, he was quizzed about the weapons and cash that was recovered but was never charged. Since then, he has kept a low profile but maintained his links with the Kinahans and Gary Hutch.
One of his close Irish associates was a businessman regraded as an “integral cog” in the Kinahan mob’s crime organisation.
According to the files, the businessman, along with the thug suspected of blasting Eamon ‘The Don’ Dunne in April, 2010, has “responsibilities for organising” the supply of drugs into Ireland.
And with tensions still rising over the murder of gangster David Byrne, 34 at the Regency Hotel and the slaying of Gerry ‘The Monk’ Hutch’s brother Eddie, 59, last month, the senior Kinahan member has been staying in safe houses over fears he will be whacked. The Irish Sun can also reveal how he was close to a Spanish woman with close links to Daniel Kinahan, 37.
The woman is “known to play a large part as an administrator” in the mob and has responsibility for establishing companies to launder drugs money.
The Spanish documents also revealed how the Kinahans “control a significant portion of the drugs trade” and are involved in the “organisation and disruption” of illegal drugs into Ireland”.
And authorities believe the mob are “responsible for numerous gangland murders” and are involved in “large scale fraud and money laundering throughout Europe”.