Spanish cops swooped on Gerry “The Monk” Hutch as he sat ordering food in a pizzeria posing as a Croatian tourist.
The Guardia Civil released footage of the 58-year-old’s arrest in Fuengirola on the Costa del Sol.
They described fugitive as “one of the most dangerous criminals sought by Ireland”.
It ended nearly four months of the crime lord evading cops after he fled from under their noses when news of the European Arrest Warrant issued for him was leaked in April.
Hutch is wanted by gardai over the murder of David Byrne at the Regency Hotel on February 5, 2016, an attack authorities believe he masterminded.
The video of “Operacion Hutch” saw officers approach the fallen mob boss – wearing a green T-shirt, dark shorts, open-toe sandals and a black face mask around his chin – as he held a menu just before he was to order in a well-known restaurant, as revealed by the Irish Mirror last weekend.
One cop in plain clothes, wearing a red T-shirt, calmly approaches him and identifies himself with his ID while two others approach Hutch from behind, placing their hands on his back and then cuffing him.
The female associate he was having dinner with walks off as The Monk is brought to the bathroom.
There, he is searched before being sat down on the toilet.
Cops then look inside the bum bag around his waist and pull out an ID card and a passport.
A garda present examined the Croatian documents, which the investigators established as fake.
The footage then shows Hutch – held by two Spanish cops and surrounded by three others and the garda – being led through the restaurant and into a Hyundai i30 car before being whisked away into custody.
In a statement issued by the Guardia Civil, they said they had detained “one of the most dangerous criminals sought by Ireland.”
A spokesman said: “The Civil Guard has arrested in the province of Malaga the Irish citizen GH, known in the criminal world as The Monk, a native of Dublin, 58-years-old and claimed by the Irish authorities where he is accused of murder.
“The investigations to locate and arrest this person began when the Civil Guard, through the Garda Siochana, learned that the Irish Judicial Authorities had accused him of murder in that country, activating a European Order of Detention and Delivery.”
Armed with that info, cops from the Justice Team of the Civil Guard’s Central Operational Unit began to carry out surveillance.
We understand they went to Lanzarote, where Hutch has a holiday home, but discovered he had gone to Malaga.
He was due to return to the Canary Island in April, only to vanish once news of the arrest warrant for him leaked and they lost him.
Their next steps saw the investigators focus on the Costa Del Sol and agents established that he was living there but had a “logistics network” to provide Hutch with whatever he needed “so as not to have to leave [his] hiding place”.
As revealed by the Irish Mirror on Tuesday, over a period of some weeks, agents noticed these people in this network separately visited a particular apartment building at No 2, Constitution Square in Fuengirola.
A unit was detailed to carry out surveillance on the building and officers watched as a known female associate of the Monk turned up.
Further inquiries also revealed that the household bills for one apartment at that address were being paid for in cash at banks and post offices.
Under what the Spanish describe as “discreet surveillance” on the property, Hutch emerged last Thursday.
He was “walking through the busy streets of the centre of the city” and was “very focused on his safety, making numerous stops and changes in speed”, the spokesman explained.
At around 7pm as he headed out – unbeknownst that his every move is being tracked – he headed into a restaurant to meet a female associate when officers pounce.
The following day, Spanish cops, with the help of gardai, obtained a warrant to search the flat he was living in.
The Guardia Civil told how the Hutch gang’s clashes with the Kinahan cartel kicked off when they had The Monk’s nephew, Gary Hutch, whacked in Mijas in 2015.
The spokesman added: “The detainee, the Irish authorities consider him responsible for the events that occurred at the Regency Hotel in Dublin in 2016, where men from his organisation, disguised as policemen, murdered a member of the rival clan using weapons of war during the time of the weigh-in for a boxing match, in a clear act of revenge.
“The investigations have been carried out by the Fugitives from Justice Team of the Civil Guard’s Central Operational Unit, in collaboration with the Garda Siochana and Europol, as well as with the Rapid Action Group of the Civil Guard at the time of the arrest and with different units of the Malaga Civil Guard Command.”
Hutch appeared in court in Madrid on Saturday and was remanded in custody.
When he is before a judge again, which could be as early as this week, he is expected to reveal if he will be accepting or contesting the EAW.
Gardai believe Hutch will contest the warrant and it could take up to six months to get him back to Ireland if he loses that fight.
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