The ‘compromising texts’ that led to arrest of detective as part of Hutch probe
Today at 08:06
A detective attached to the garda Special Detective Unit (SDU) was arrested and questioned about working for the Hutch gang after compromising messages were allegedly discovered by investigators.
The Irish Independent has learnt that text messages between him and other people suspected of working for the gang have played a major role in the investigation.
The officer was arrested and questioned for a number of hours at Ashbourne garda station in Co Meath on Wednesday. He was later released without charge, and a file will now be prepared for the Director of Public Prosecutions.
Sources said it is alleged the detective had multiple dealings with “low to mid-level” members of the Hutch gang over a sustained period of time. The detective “staunchly denies” any allegations of wrongdoing.
It has emerged that around €40,000 in cash and a number of rounds of ammunition were seized this week by detectives as part of the investigation.
“The garda insists that he has a perfectly legitimate reason for having the cash and he believes that he can prove that,” a source said last night. He intends to fight these allegations “head-on”.
Gardaí confirmed details of the arrest yesterday evening.
“As part of an on-going criminal investigation by the Garda National Bureau of Criminal Investigation (NBCI), a member of An Garda Síochána was arrested earlier this week,” a garda spokesman said in a statement.
“The garda was subsequently released without charge pending a file to the DPP. The garda is suspended.”
More arrests are expected as part of the long-running NBCI investigation into the Hutch gang.
It is understood that the NBCI has been investigating the detective’s alleged activities for at least three years. It is claimed he had dealings with a number of Hutch gang members and was involved in financial dealings with the mob – something he completely denies, according to sources.
The SDU is responsible for investigating the activities of serious criminals, including Irish and international terrorist and organised crime groups. Because of the nature of their duties, SDU officers carry firearms.
Details of the arrest of an SDU officer have sent shockwaves throughout the force.
RTÉ first revealed details of the arrest yesterday evening, and sources confirmed that investigators also removed documents and electronic devices as part of the investigation.
Laptops and mobile phones are being forensically examined for emails, texts, and voice messages.
The arrested detective has worked on a number of investigations into dissident republican terror groups, including the New IRA.
He has been involved in a number of extremely sensitive and dangerous undercover operations, which has led to the seizure of explosives and other illegal material as well as the arrests of terror suspects.