IRISH crime boss John Gilligan has been arrested on suspicion of running prescription drug smuggling rings on the Costa Blanca.

The arrest was made after a gun was found in a garden of one of the Irishman’s businesses that operated in the Torrevieja and Orihuela Costa areas.

Gilligan, 68, was arrested by Spanish cops after he was placed under investigation for sending prescription drugs readily available in Spain back to Ireland.

He is also under suspicion of smuggling cannabis resin back to the UK using unsuspecting ‘mules’ and using the profits to inject into his many businesses in Alicante Province.

Known as ‘Factory John’ in his nineties heyday, Gilligan was a well known drug smuggler, organising the transportation of large quantities of cannabis into Dublin.

This led him to serve a 20-year prison sentence before relocating to Spain’s Costa Blanca, where he is alleged to be ‘up to his old tricks’, said a senior investigator in the case.

The UK and the Spanish authorities joined forces to crack a well known prescription drug smuggling racket in Spain more than two years ago.

After a money laundering arrest in 2018, the PSNI tipped the Policia Nacional to land on Gilligan’s doorstep.

Gilligan was arrested at Dublin airport back in 2018 carrying €20,000 in cash which was believed to be allocated to purchase the drugs in Spain, such as Zopiclone, an over-the-counter anti-insomnia drug.

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