An amateur football coach who became one of the oldest members of the Kinahan cartel had “tried to present himself as a man of the community”, according to sources.
eadar Keating (40) was sentenced yesterday to 11 years in prison for leading a blood feud murder plot.
He had pleaded guilty to leading the activities of a criminal gang involved in the failed attempt against Hutch associate James ‘Mago’ Gately in 2017.
The murder plot was foiled when Estonian hitman Imre Arakas was arrested and a weapon seized after he traveled to Ireland for the coup.
Following a thorough investigation by the Garda Office of Drugs and Organized Crime (DOCB), it emerged that Keating was one of the main organizers of the plot.
He had previously been arrested by British police in Dover who were investigating a drug trafficking ring in which around 5 million euros in drugs, ammunition and £ 250,000 were seized.
Keating, from Rowlagh Green to Clondalkin, was also heavily involved and the manager of his local amateur football club Collinstown FC.
One of his close associates, Sean McGovern of Crumlin, a cartel figure, is also under investigation into the Gately conspiracy and is currently in Dubai with Mafia boss Daniel Kinahan.
Keating’s conviction and long sentence is considered one of the Garda’s greatest successes in its fight against the international cartel.
“He tried to present himself as a man of the community, but he was heavily involved in organized crime and is a key associate of the cartel.
“Keating ran a criminal ring in West Dublin and was also tasked with overseeing this plot to assassinate one of the Kinahan’s main targets, and his conviction is a major victory for Gardaí,” a senior source said. level.
Keating, who was the brother-in-law of murdered Kinahan money launderer Jason Carroll who was shot dead in Clondalkin in 2013, has close ties to senior Kinahan cartel official Thomas ‘Bomber’ Kavanagh.
He is currently in prison in the UK as he awaits his conviction for his smuggling operation of more than 45 million euros of cannabis and cocaine.
Kavanagh ran its operations from its base in Birmingham, England.
Four years ago, The Sunday World revealed Keating’s involvement in organized crime as we revealed that he was one of five Irish people arrested by the National Crime Agency in Birmingham after border forces officers arrested seized 5.5 million euros of herbal cannabis and cocaine more than 300 km from Dover. .
Keating was then released on bail by the police.
We also revealed at the time how the arrest took place just over a month after Keating was arrested by the guard at Dublin Airport in connection with an alleged plot to kill Gately, partner of Hutch.
Keating was arrested by members of the Garda Drugs and Organized Crime Bureau after arriving in Dublin on August 27, 2017.
In court, Judge Tony Hunt said Keating was a “trust repository” for the organized crime group.
He pleaded guilty at the end of June this year to leading the activities of a criminal organization between December 7, 2016 and April 6, 2017, inside and outside the state.
This involved the “continued targeting” of Gately in the context of a feud between the criminal groups Hutch and Kinahan.
The judge said Keating was a “senior figure” in the Kinahan Organized Crime Group, which he described as a “well-organized, complex, sinister and dangerous organization”.
He said Keating was “an important part of the surveillance of James Gately and his family regarding the proposed murder” and that five tracking devices were involved in the plot.
Judge Hunt said that although Keating had ten previous convictions, the offense in court of directing the activities of a criminal organization was a “milestone.”
He sentenced Keating to 12 years in prison, suspending the final year for two years. Keating then took out a € 100 bond to keep the peace for two years. The judge then backdated the sentence to July 1, 2020.
Father-of-three Keating, dressed in a gray top and blue jeans, spoke only in court without a jury to acknowledge himself bound to peace for two years upon his release from prison.
The judge said that if Keating had pleaded not guilty and been tried, his conviction would have warranted a “full” sentence, which under section 71 (A) of the Criminal Justice Act is punishable by a maximum sentence of life imprisonment.
Speaking in court after Keating’s conviction, Detective Chief Superintendent Seamus Boland said: for An Garda Síochána’s strategy to disrupt and dismantle organized criminal groups participating in violence, which is the bane of communities. “
Deputy Chief Superintendent Boland said that “three people have now been convicted of criminal conspiracy to murder an individual [Gately] in Belfast in April 2017, during a well-documented gang feud between the Kinahan Organized Crime Gang and the Hutch Organized Crime Gang ”.
“This investigation also identified the transnational reach of organized crime, where such groups and individuals involved in this activity do not recognize the law or respect our borders.
We would like to take this opportunity to thank our own investigative team and our international partners and in particular, the Northern Ireland Police Service, the National Crime Agency and Europol. This investigation is still ongoing, ”Deputy Chief Superintendent Boland said.
During Keating’s sentencing hearing, Detective Sergeant Carolan said Gardai contacted the Northern Ireland Police Service (PSNI) who informed Gately of the potential and imminent threat to his life. PSNI agents discovered a tracking device on Gately’s car and harvested CCTV footage that Gardai used to identify Keating and others near Gately’s apartment complex on March 28 and 30, six and three. four days before Arakas arrived in Ireland.
Gardai then reconstructed Keating’s movements on those days and found that on March 28 he drove to a short-stay parking lot at Dublin Airport to pick up a blue Peugeot that had been brought to Ireland from Holyhead. Earlier in the day. Keating left his own Volkswagen Caddy in the airport parking lot and drove to Dundalk, Co. Louth, where he purchased a Garmin satellite navigation device (satnav). When Gardai next grabbed the device, they used it to track Keating’s movements.
They discovered that Keating had traveled to Belfast and College Court, where Gately was then living. CCTV from the apartment complex confirmed that Keating was there, checking the location of the CCTV cameras before re-boarding the Peugeot.
On March 30, Keating drove the Peugeot again to Belfast, this time with two other men.
One of the men entered the parking lot of the Gately apartment complex at around 11:13 a.m. and attached a tracker to a Toyota Avensis.
When Gately traveled to Dublin from Belfast later that day, Keating was ten minutes behind him on the same road, the detective said.
There was other evidence, the garda said, that after Arakas’ arrest, Keating ordered one of his co-defendants to clean the Peugeot “from top to bottom to make sure all fingerprints have disappeared “. The detective also pointed out that Keating arranged to leave Ireland by ferry after discovering that one of his co-defendants had been arrested at Dublin Airport from Birmingham on April 6.
Gardai found an image containing the serial numbers of five tracking devices on Keating’s phone, one of which had been deployed on Gately’s partner’s car.
The phone also contained Instagram images of Gately consistent with information sent to Arakas to help him identify his target. There was also a reference to Gately being on vacation in Florida over Christmas time.
Detective Sergeant Carolan said Keating has already been convicted ten times, mostly on traffic cases.
His most recent conviction dates back to 2009 in Benidorm, Spain, for a “tumultuous brawl” for which he was fined € 900.
Detective agreed with Hugh Hartnett SC, for Keating, that the accused was following other people’s instructions.