Thursday, 17 November 2005

Territorial battle is now being waged down the barrel of a gun

Thursday November 17 2005
SOME Dublin gangs consist of just a handful of people - but they are ruthless when it comes to controlling what they perceive to be 'their' territory.

Several have split or been torn apart in recent years and some of the criminals are regarded as having no allegiance.

The most high-profile gangs at the moment are the two factions involved in the Crumlin feud. Originally belonging to the same gang, a dispute began when three members were found in possession of drugs in a Dublin hotel - the members blamed each other for tipping off the Gardai and they split into two gangs.

One side, which consists of six men, is led by a jailed gangland thug who is serving a sentence for guns charges and having drugspossession of drugs and firearms charges.

The other side is lead by a criminal who was released from prison last year.

Their first victim of the feud was Declan Gavin (20) who was stabbed in 2001 but the number of deaths believed to be directly linked to the feud has now risen to seven.

The 'New Westies' gang - which is based in Blanchardstown - has also seen a number of murders within its ranks.

The gang's enforcer, Andrew 'Madser' Glennon (30), was murdered in April while his brother Mark was shot dead in September.

They were seen as the 'new kids on the block' who were destined to take control of the lucrative drugs trade in the area from the Westies gang. However, they soon began arguing among themselves over drugs and money.

Police intelligence indicates that the original leaders of the Westies - Stephen Sugg and Shane Coates - were killed in Alicante by a Russian mob.

There are now believed to be around 10 dangerous armed drug-dealers in the gang.

It was in this area of Dublin in which Operation Anvil was mainly concentrated when it began in May this year.

Meanwhile the Lusk post office robbers were part of a criminal gang responsible for a spate of armed robberies and drug trafficking in ravaged areas of Dublin.

Two men, Colm 'Collie' Griffin (33) and Eric Hopkins (24), were shot dead by gardai as they attempted to rob the post office in February of this year. Four arrests were made.

Finglas has seen its fair share of gangland trouble but one of the prominent gangs was weakened following the death of the feared gangland boss Declan Curran and the imprisonment of co-leader John Daly for armed robbery.

The gang are heavily involved in armed robberies and drug dealing and are friendly with the Tank Brothers, who are neighbours.

Further north in Coolock, the 'Fats' gang is led by two criminals who are well known to gardai. Although not a lot has been written about them they control most of the drugs trade on the Northside. Twenty men were killed in gang-related shootings in 2003, eight died in 2004 and so far this year 18 have been killed.

Meanwhile in Tallaght, a gang uses the republican flag to carry out drug deals and protection rackets. Linked with the INLA they supply some pubs in the inner city with bouncers and many are invovled in drug dealing as a lucrative sideline.

While many of these gangs and their members have been up and coming in the crime world over recent years, 'The Veterans' in the South-inner city have been around for many years. Mainly in their late 40s and early 50s, they come together every few years to pull off well-planned heists. They are suspected of being behind some raids on security vans earlier this year.

Twenty men were killed in gang-related shootings in 2003, 8 died in 2004 and so far this year 18 have been killed.

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