IRISH gangsters shot in an Estepona ambush earlier this month were killed by Russian mafia hitmen.
Detectives from Dublin believe Paddy Doyle crossed a Russian crime gang involved in drug running on the Costa del Sol.
Doyle – the survivor of a vicious criminal turf war in Ireland which has claimed at least ten lives – was gunned down in a broad daylight hit.
He was travelling in the front passenger seat of a BMW 4X4 driven by friend Gary Hutch, who was badly injured but managed to flee on foot.
According to police, the 27-year-old had beaten up a close relative of a Russian mafia leader based on the Costa del Sol.
“This was a professional hit. There were 13 shots and we don’t think they wasted a bullet,” a source told British newspaper, the Observer.
“It has a military-trained assassin written all over it, possibly ex-special forces.
“The intelligence says that Paddy Doyle crossed the Russian mafia, which is something you do there at your peril.”
Doyle, a career criminal, had been the chief suspect in two murders carried out in his native city in 2002 and 2005.
But he managed to flee to Liverpool and finally to the Costa del Sol, where he ran a drugs empire smuggling vast amounts of cocaine from Spain into Ireland.
After Doyle was shot, Hutch reported the shooting to the local police.
Less than 24 hours after Doyle’s murder, cocaine valued at 9.2million euros was seized by Spanish police in Estepona close to the shooting.
Hutch told police that Doyle was on his way to meet a British criminal when his car was ambushed.
The police source continued: “Doyle was typical of the third generation of gangland ‘soldier’ from Dublin. He was aggressive, showy and started fights at a whim.
“He and his ilk are unlike the older Irish criminal types on the Costa who live a very quiet life and just get on with their business. Doyle simply crossed the people you don’t cross on the Costa, the Russians.”