The Spanish Civil Guard have arrested an Irish fugitive believed to be linked to the feared Kinahan crime family, whose ongoing feud with the rival Hutch family has resulted in 18 deaths since 2015.
The 38-year-old Irish national named as Gary Vickery, who is registered at an address in the Staffordshire town of Tamworth, was arrested by Spanish Civil Guard officers in the village of La Asomada in the municipality of Tias on Thursday, 21st October.
Vickery was subject to an international arrest warrant issued by the UK authorities after he failed to attend a court hearing in the UK in person in July, claiming he had failed to get a PCR test done in time.
He is accused of conspiring to import shipments of cocaine and hashish with a street value of over GBP 23 million, according to the UK National Crime Agency (NCA), and of laundering money for the notorious Kinahan crime gang.
The Kinahan family and its associates have been involved in an ongoing feud with the Hutch crime family and its associates ever since the murder of 34-year-old armed-robbery convict Gary Hutch in an apartment complex in the Spanish city of Marbella in September 2015.
The Kinahan crime family is believed to be mainly involved in the drug trade, whereas its rivals are primarily implicated in robberies.
Most of the 18 deaths linked to the Hutch-Kinahan feud have been perpetrated by the Kinahan gang. However, the most recent death linked to the feud was that of 34-year-old suspected Kinahan gang member Eric Fowler, who was fatally shot in the head in the Dublin suburb of Clonsilla in December 2018.
Vickery’s arrest was the fruit of collaboration between the Spanish Civil Guard and the NCA, with the latter reportedly informing the former of the suspect’s possible whereabouts.
The NCA, in turn, had collaborated with the Garda Siochana, Ireland’s national police service, for four years, investigating the suspected drug-trafficking operation.
The bar terrace on which the suspect was arrested is close to both the house he had been living in since 2017 and the boat rental business he ran with his wife, according to the Spanish Civil Guard.
Vickery, along with two other men including the gang’s most senior figure, 52-year-old Thomas ‘Bomber’ Kavanagh, has already admitted to the UK authorities to conspiring to import class A and B drugs and money laundering.
The first charge alone carries a maximum sentence of life in prison, according to the Sentencing Council for England and Wales.
The suspect remains in preventive custody on Lanzarote pending his extradition to the UK.