Saturday, 23 August 2008

Peter Mitchell was shot outside a bar at the Aloha apartment complex in Puerta Banus near Marbella. A masked gunman fired at least five shots

10:29 |

Peter Mitchell (39), who is originally from Summerhill in Dublin's north inner city, was wounded when a masked gunman opened fire outside a bar on Thursday night. News of the shooting reached gardaí in Ireland yesterday. Mitchell was shot outside a bar at the Aloha apartment complex in Puerta Banus near Marbella. A masked gunman fired at least five shots at Mitchell wounding him twice in the arm and shoulder.
Two other men, one in his 40s and a pensioner, also sustained minor injuries in the shooting. It was unclear last night if the two injured men were with Mitchell or if they were shot in the crossfire during the suspected gangland attack.
However, the Garda's inquiries with Spanish police indicate Mitchell was the target of the shooting and the incident is being treated as an attempted murder. The Irishman was taken to hospital after the attack and he was still undergoing medical treatment last night. His injuries are not life threatening and he is expected to make a full recovery. The nationalities of the other two injured men had not been established by gardaí last night. It is understood Spanish police have already spoken to Mitchell about what happened. Mitchell had been running a bar in southern Spain until it closed recently. In 2004 he was questioned by police in Holland in connection with the discovery of heroin and ammunition in an apartment in the city. Mitchell was one of a number of young criminals who worked for John Gilligan before their gang was targeted by gardaí following the murder in 1996 of crime journalist Veronica Guerin. Mitchell left Ireland shortly after the murder of Ms Guerin and the inception of the Criminal Assets Bureau. However, he had bought a number of modest properties which were targeted by the bureau in its early days. He has until recent months kept a relatively low profile in Spain and seldom returns to Ireland. Mitchell was named in court as a member of Gilligan's gang during Gilligan's original drugs trial and his subsequent appeal. The Supreme Court in a judgment in 2005 held there was evidence before Gilligan's Special Criminal Court drugs trial to justify its conclusions that Gilligan, Charles Bowden, Paul Ward, Brian Meehan, Shay Ward and Peter Mitchell were "a gang" engaged in drug trafficking; that Gilligan was the "prime mover" in the importation of cannabis resin into the country; and that he was the "supreme authority" among the gang members and "the largest beneficiary" of the proceeds of the sale of cannabis resin. Once known as a playground for the rich and famous, Puerto Banus still attracts plenty of wealthy tourists, but these days it is also home to Russian oligarchs, Arab royalty and a number of west Dublin drug barons. Billed as Europe's answer to Las Vegas, the port complex, which is located some 6km outside of Marbella on the Costa del Sol, was built by local developer Jose Banus in 1970 as a luxury marina and shopping haven for the jet-set and super-rich. Over four million people are estimated to visit the resort of Puerto Banus every year. But while it once attracted the likes of King Juan Carlos of Spain, Hugh Hefner and Julio Iglesias, it has now lost much of its glamour and with it many of the celebrities who used to flock to the port. In recent years, Irish, British and Russian gangs have vied with local Spanish criminals for command of the lucrative drugs trade which has flourished in the Costa del Sol, with much of it based in or around Puerto Banus.

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