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Tracker device planted in foiled Kinahan Cartel plot to murder rival Hutch member, court hears

James ‘Mago’ Gately had been warned by gardai of a threat to his life from criminals who believed him to be involved in the Regency Hotel murder

  • 16:14, 14 JAN 2022
James ‘Mago Gately pictured at Gary Hutch’s funeral (Image: Padraig O’Reilly)

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A gang member who was involved in a foiled Kinahan Cartel plot to murder James ‘Mago’ Gately travelled to the North to place a tracker device on the rival Hutch member’s car, the Special Criminal Court was told today.

Last November at the non-jury court, Douglas Glynn changed his plea to guilty just over a week after he went on trial and admitted placing a tracker device on Gately’s car.

Gately had been warned by gardai of a threat to his life from criminals who believed him to be involved in the Regency Hotel murder of Kinahan Cartel associate David Byrne in February 2016.

The court has heard in previous related cases that there was “ongoing targeting” of Gately in the context of a feud between the Hutch and Kinahan crime groups.

Estonian hitman Imre Arakas was brought to Ireland in 2017 to carry out the murder of Gately before he was apprehended by gardai.

Imre Arakas (Image: Tiit Blaat/Delfi/Ekspress Meedia)

Detective Sergeant David Carolan previously told the Special Criminal Court he was aware that Gately was involved “in a feud with the Kinahan organised crime group” and that Gately “had a wider association with the Hutch organised crime group”.

He said that Gately was “being targeted by the Kinahan organised crime group at the time”.

Glynn, 37, of Fitzgibbon Court, Dublin 1, was re-arraigned on November 17 and pleaded guilty to participating in activities of a criminal organisation, contrary to Section 72 (1) (A) of the Criminal Justice Act. When first arraigned at the three-judge court on November 9, Glynn had pleaded not guilty.

The specifics of the charge are that on dates between December 7, 2016, and April 6, 2017, inclusive, both within and outside the State and with knowledge of a criminal organisation and with the intent of enhancing the ability of the said criminal organisation or any of its members to commit a serious offence, namely the murder of James Gately, he did participate in or contribute to activities connected with the said offence.

At today’s sentence hearing, Detective Sergeant Jonathan O’Leary, of the Garda National Drugs and Organised Crime Bureau, told Dominic McGinn SC, prosecuting, that the offence arose out of an “ongoing plan” to target Gately, which began in December 2016.

Det Sgt O’Leary said gardai were not aware of who the target was until April 2017 and it was only on the arrival of Arakas into Ireland on April 2, 2017 that gardai became aware that the plan was to assassinate Gately.

Estonian hitman Arakas, 63, was jailed by the Special Criminal Court for six years in December 2018, after he admitted to conspiring with others to murder Gately in Northern Ireland between April 3 and 4, 2017.

The witness said today that Gately is a prominent member of a rival criminal organisation.

During the investigation, gardai were aware that someone would be arriving into Ireland and Arakas was tracked by members of the unit and followed around Dublin city. He was later collected by a man driving a white Mercedes van and taken to Blakestown Cottages, Clonsilla, Dublin 15, where a co-accused Stephen Fowler lived.

Fowler, 62, of Blakestown Cottages in Clonsilla, Dublin 15 has already been jailed for providing logistical support to the plot to murder Gately.

Whilst walking around the city, Arakas purchased items for his role as an assassin including a disguise and he was also observed in an area of the city where Gately might have frequented.

Having observed where Ararkas went, a search warrant was obtained for Blakestown Cottages on April 4, 2017 and gardai found Arakas and Fowler on the premises.

A Blackberry device was found in Arakas’ possession and an open message thread referring to the planning of the murder of Gately was found. The message thread was wiped remotely after it was photographed on the Blackberry device

A note was also found next to Arakas which was written in Estonian but with the words ‘James Gately, Dublin criminal’ written in English.

In addition, there was information about the geographical features as to where Gately was living in Belfast and reference to a firearm using the code word “dog”. Det Sgt O’Leary said it became clear that it was anticipated that Gately was to be assassinated and armed with that information, gardai liaised with the PSNI.

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