NOWHERE TO RUN
Fatso's the last man standing as war on Irish mafia forces thug back into hiding
RUNNING SCARED: Fatso Mitchell has gone into hiding after he was discovered during a raid by cops on John Traynor’s Amsterdam home
HE is the last man standing from John Gilligan's once-powerful crime gang but Peter 'Fatso' Mitchell is fast running out of places to hide.
The drug dealer fled to the UK after the dramatic arrest of John 'the Coach' Traynor in Holland this month, but he knows it is only a matter of time before he too is nabbed by powerful European police forces who are enjoying unprecedented success by pooling their resources and intelligence to close down some of the continents' biggest crime cartels.
Mitchell, who was discovered in Traynor's three bed, semi-detached house in Amstelveen over two weeks ago after the crime lord was arrested, is believed to have made straight for Schiphol airport after being freed from custody.
He initially hid out near Liverpool, where he desperately tried to make contact with associates back in Spain to find out how the land lies there.
It is just months since Spanish police busted Irish Mafia godfather Christy Kinahan and his money-laundering and drug-running cartel after a two year undercover surveillance operation against him.
They worked with gardai, police from the UK's Serious Organised Crime Agency and forces from Holland and France.
The arrests sent shockwaves across the underworld and many Irish ex-pat gangsters, including Gary Hutch and 'Fat' Freddie Thompson, fled for Holland.
Arrest warrants have since been issued for both in connection with the probe into Kinahan's €500 million fortune.
Up-rooting overnight has become a familiar routine for Peter Mitchell, the last member of the Gilligan gang which plotted the murder of Veronica Guerin yet be brought to justice.
Two years ago he was forced to flee his Spanish bolt-hole in Puerto Banus after a six month Sunday World investigation into his activities.
We exposed his multi-million euro international drug-trafficking operation, which he was running from his own personal watering hole Paparazzi Bar.
There he would hold crime summits with major Irish and UK criminal, including a top former English footballer, while posing as an ordinary bar owner.
It is understood that after our probe Mitchell was ordered out of the Costa by Kinahan, who didn't like the attention that Fatso was bringing on him. He had to flee his home after surviving a shooting in a Spanish nightclub and his marriage to Sonia Walsh soon came to an end too.
Mitchell's dream pub in the sun, where he once ran his lucrative drugs trade, has since been turned into a Tex Mex restaurant and his €3 million villa lies empty.
Fatso is one of the great survivors in a world where a bullet in the head is just another way of doing business. He grew up in Summerhill in Dublin, where he was known for his vast bulk and ability to use it to intimidate anyone.
He was initially involved in robberies and assault, but after a stint in Portlaoise prison he formed a close friendship with Brian 'the Tosser' Meehan and John Gilligan.
When he was released back onto the streets he realised the potential to make a fortune through drugs and during his regular visits to the prison to see Meehan he regaled him with stories of how easy it was to make money bringing the lucrative narcotics into Dublin.
When they got out of prison in 1994 he convinced Meehan and Gilligan to get involved and the gang proceeded to flood the country with cannabis.
He fled Ireland with Meehan in September 1996 as officers investigating the murder of Veronica Guerin began closing in on the gang.
Meehan was the motorbike rider on the day the reporter was gunned down in cold blood by Patrick Dutchy Holland. He was subsequently arrested and jailed for the murder - the only member of the Gilligan gang done for the actual assassination.
Mitchell managed to escape the net and spent the next 12 years living in Spain, where he ran his own drug empire but remained in contact with Meehan via smuggled mobile phones.
There he formed a close working relationship with Kinahan who, on his arrest, was credited by Spanish authorities as being the Irish mafia godfather.
Mitchell also formed close ties with Fat Freddie Thompson, who moved to Spain following the notorious Crumlin-Drimnagh feud which claimed the lives of 10 people in Dublin, and runaway criminal Gary Hutch.
But relations with Kinahan soured and Thompson's enforcer, Paddy Doyle, was gunned down in Spain in 2008. The hit was ordered by the Kinahan mob, according to Spanish cops.
The 'Dapper Don' is also suspected of being behind a failed attempt on Fatso's life some months later as he enjoyed a drink in a bar. He packed up and left Spain and his whereabouts were unknown until he was found in Traynor's home two weeks ago.
Now he is on the run again.
Mitchell cannot return to Ireland. In fact, new gangland legislation enacted here has forced many of his cohorts to flee in recent
months, seeking refuge abroad from the powerful legislation that could see them before the nonjury Special Criminal Court for gang
In Spain, details of the huge under-cover probe which resulted in the arrest of Kinahan, his right hand man John Cunningham and other members of that gang have terrified many who thought that the Costa was their refuge.
Mitchell was no doubt glad to be in Holland when the dramatic arrests made news across the world. He found that old friends are best and bunked up with the Mr Fixit from the Gilligan empire,Traynor.
Traynor managed to disappear after the Guerin hit. He is suspect of pinpointing Veronica's location for her killers.
But now Mitchell's Amsterdam bolthole is no longer safe. Powerful European arrest warrants mean the Dutch city is not safe for on the run Hutch and Thompson either.
Mitchell's luck ran out when officers carrying out a follow up search on his three bed semi-detached home burst in while he watched television in his old pal's house. They had no arrest warrant for 'Fatso' and it is believed they did not know he was staying there.
Factory John Gilligan is still behind bars serving 28 years for drug trafficking. Although his sentence is coming to it's end he has received extra time for being caught with mobile phones in prison. He has fought a lengthy legal battle, funded by the taxpayer, to try and get the spoils of his old evil empire off the Criminal Assets Bureau.
Meehan is serving life in prison for Veronica's murder. He no longer talks to his old gang boss and is furious that he was the only one done for the murder. Paul Ward, a life long pal of Meehan, was convicted of the murder of Guerin and spent four years in jail but he had his conviction overturned in 2002 and last year married his sweetheart Anita Murray after being freed from a stint behind bars for rioting in Mountjoy prison.
Dutchy Holland was jailed in 1997 for drug trafficking, was released but then died in a British jail in 2009. Supergrass Charlie Bowden turned state witness and is now living outside the jurisdiction on the witness protection programme.
Up until his arrest Traynor was the only other member of the gang, apart from Mitchell, to get away. Now Mitchell will be counting on his special mix of rat like cunning and old fashioned good luck to stay one step ahead of the law.