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Sam Boal/
taxi network

The Hutch gang is using a network of taxis to ferry drugs around Dublin

A number of members of the Hutch gang have left for Spain in recent months

THE HUTCH GANG is using an intricate network of taxis to ferry drugs around the capital as the traffickers continue to do business despite the immediate threat to their lives.

Despite most of the gang’s hierarchy fleeing to Spain in recent days, they are still “100% still active” in Dublin, according to multiple sources.

The gang has been involved in a bloody feud with members of the Kinahan crime cartel since September 2015, but that has not stopped them operating their criminal empire.

Sources have told that despite the murder of many associates, the gang is still operating and have formed a new agreement with dissident republicans north of the border.

“If you look at who has been killed around the Hutch gang, they’re not the top guys,” says one source.

“They’re largely on the edges of what they do. Some aren’t even involved at all.”

Thus far, 12 people have lost their lives in the bloody feud, which dates back to September 2015.

The Hutch gang did, however, have what sources say was a “lucky escape” in May when James ‘Mago’ Gately survived a hit on his life at a Dublin service station.

“If Mago had been killed, they’d have had a serious problem,” continued the source.

But you have to remember the amounts of money these guys are dealing with. They’re not giving up on that…

Gately left hospital a number of weeks ago and is believed to have fled Dublin.

The links to the north have seen the Hutch gang arrange the sale and supply of weapons with groups styling themselves on the Provisional IRA.

It is understood the arrangement will see weapons go both ways across the border, including a large supply of explosives.

In the last three weeks, these republicans have teamed up with a number of Dublin people who are on the fringes of the Hutch gang. Gardaí have received intelligence that there is still a significant movement of weapons heading over the border and into Dublin

The sophisticated taxi trafficking network the Hutches use is believed to involve at least 10 cars, registered as taxis in Ireland.

In some cases when the gang knows there is a checkpoint in a particular area, they will use dummy cars – taxis either driven by persons of interest or carrying a person of interest as a passenger – before approaching the checkpoint.

Gardaí will then pull them in and search the car for drugs or any other contraband they could be carrying. Meanwhile, a vehicle carrying the drugs has passed through the checkpoint without detection.

This intelligence has been met by gardaí with increased armed checkpoints around the North Circular Road area, some in broad daylight and others in the dead of night.

This week, gardaí arrested a man in relation to the ongoing feud between the Kinahans and Hutches.

A man was caught with a loaded handgun heading to Belfast. Gardaí believe he was en route to murder a high-ranking Kinahan associate who had recently been spotted in the Belfast area.

While there has not been a feud murder since the death of Michael Keogh off Dorset Street in May, gardaí still believe that another murder is probable.

Armed checkpoints will continue to be installed in both the north inner city of Dublin and the Crumlin areas where each gang is based.

Read: 24-year-old man charged over rape and false imprisonment of Spanish student >

Read: Criminal Assets Bureau returned over €3.8 million to the State last year >

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Paul Hosford and Garreth McNamee