The police raid resulting in the arrest of Gerry Hutch in southern Spain on Thursday was the second time a specialist unit there had tried to move against the Dubliner.
However, though gardaí expected Mr Hutch to be detained earlier this year, the Spanish authorities were not successful on that occasion, according to The Irish Times.
The 58-year-old left Ireland 5½ years ago as the Kinahan-Hutch feud erupted in Dublin and gardaí believe he has spent most of his time since then in Spain, while also travelling to other European countries.
While his whereabouts were unknown to gardaí for long periods, his extradition to Ireland could not have been attempted until the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) approved criminal charges against him earlier this year and a European arrest warrant was issued.
He was traced to Fuengirola in southern Spain and was under close surveillance earlier this year with a view to his arrest taking place then.
However, he was not detained at that time as he left the area, apparently for Eastern Europe and in a bid to evade capture. More recently he returned to Fuengirola, where he was being monitored by police.
This week saw the level of surveillance stepped up and culminated in his arrest on Thursday evening in Fuengirola.
The Dubliner is likely to be held in prison in Madrid until he is extradited back to the Republic to face charges already approved by the DPP, though he can fight the extradition process and was expected to do so.
While senior Garda officers in Dublin welcomed his arrest, they told The Irish Times a protracted legal process was likely before Mr Hutch was brought before the courts in Dublin.
He is wanted to face charges relating to the gun attack on a boxing tournament weigh-in at the Regency Hotel, north Dublin, in February 2016, during which one man was fatally shot and several others were wounded.
Once that attack occurred, the Kinahan-Hutch feud erupted. It has claimed 18 lives to date, though there have been no killings for almost three years.