Belfast Telegraph

Monday 24 November 2014

Ex-IRA chief held after Spanish drugs bust

Murdered: Garda McCabe
Murdered: Garda McCabe

A man from Northern Ireland suspected of being the former head of the Provisional IRA in the Republic has been arrested in Spain after police raided a cannabis grow house on the outskirts of Alicante.

The man, now in his 60s, has previously been arrested in Spain and sentenced for running a major cigarette smuggling operation.

Originally from Belfast, he lived in Tallaght in west Dublin and is believed to have headed the Provisionals' ‘Southern Command’.

He fled Ireland after the murder of Detective Garda Jerry McCabe in May 1996.

The man was named by a witness in the case as giving the order for the robbery of the cash-in-transit van in Adare, Co Limerick, during which Det Garda McCabe was killed and his colleague, Det Garda Ben O'Sullivan, seriously injured.

An international arrest warrant was issued for the man, along with two others who were believed to have been present when the gardai were shot in Adare. It is understood the two other men fled to South America.

The Alicante-based man was arrested on Wednesday after the Spanish national police raided the cannabis grow house. He is in custody awaiting a court appearance this week.

While he was not suspected of any involvement in the murder of Det Garda McCabe or in any way ordered it, gardai had witness statement evidence that he sanctioned the armed robbery.

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