Former contact of murdered journalist Veronica Guerin in Dutch police custody after joint operation with UK
Henry McDonald, Ireland correspondent
guardian.co.uk, Thursday 2 September 2010 13.30 BST
Veronica Guerin, who was shot dead shot dead by the pillion passenger on a motorbike as she stopped at traffic lights in Naas, just outside Dublin, in June 1996 Photograph: PA/PA Archive/PA Photos
A convicted Dublin criminal who fled the Irish Republic after the murder of investigative journalist Veronica Guerin by another gangland boss has been arrested in the Netherlands.
John Traynor is in Dutch police custody after being detained in Amstelveen, outside Amsterdam, as part of an operation between detectives in Holland and the UK's Serious Organised Crime Agency (Soca).
In a statement today, Soca said Traynor was believed to have been living in the Netherlands for a number of years.
Guerin was shot dead by the pillion passenger on a motorbike as she stopped at traffic lights in Naas Road, Dublin, in June 1996.
Traynor, 62, has been wanted in the UK for 18 years after absconding from prison one year into a seven-year sentence for handling stolen bearer bonds in London.
A prisoner at Highpoint prison, in Suffolk, he was given temporary release, went back to Ireland and did not return.
He is now awaiting extradition to the UK to serve the remainder of his sentence.
Traynor was one of Guerin's criminal contacts and, prior to her murder, was seeking a high court order to prevent her from writing about his involvement in organised crime.
He hired a gunman to shoot her in the leg a year before another gangland criminal in Dublin had her assassinated.
Traynor fled Ireland after she was killed and moved between Spain and the Netherlands. He was arrested with Brian Meehan in Amsterdam in 1997. Meehan was extradited and is now serving life for Guerin's murder. Traynor was released without charge.
A Soca spokesperson said: "He is now awaiting extradition to the UK to serve the remainder of his sentence.
"This arrest is as a result of ongoing collaboration with the Dutch authorities that Soca has to apprehend criminals operating in the Netherlands that impact on the UK." It is expected that Traynor will appear in court in the coming days.
There are no outstanding warrants for Traynor in the Irish Republic.
Traynor was an associate of Dublin criminal boss Martin Cahill, also known as The General, and was also close to John Gilligan.
Gilligan was cleared of the murder of Guerin in 2001. He was jailed by the special criminal court for 28 years for importing cannabis resin, the longest sentence handed down in Ireland for drugs offences.
Traynor was involved in a wide variety of criminal enterprises, from organising armed robberies to drug smuggling, embezzlement and prostitution. He was the second in command and main adviser of the drug-smuggling gang broken up by the Garda investigation into the Guerin murder. He also had contacts with the Irish National Liberation Army.
• This article was amended on 3 September 2010. The original referred to Naas, just outside Dublin. This has been corrected.