Saturday, 23 December 2006

Battle on for 'Marlo' territory

Saturday December 23 2006
HE'S dead less than a fortnight, but already criminals are fighting for control of Martin 'Marlo' Hyland's territory in Dublin.

Three factions are believed to be battling for control of the lucrative armed robbery business across the north and west of the city that Hyland (39) and his gang ran prior to his assassination.

In recent years Hyland masterminded a number of high profile robberies on cash and transit vans, pocketing hundreds of thousands of euro needed to bankroll his drug-dealing operation.

Since his murder 11 days ago, three outfits, each led by a formidible criminal, have been planning to fill the void left by his death.

A number of Hyland's old gang have "deserted the cause" since his killing and gardai fear violence in the coming weeks as the other gangs move in on Marlo's business.

The three criminals leading the rival factions are Alan 'Fatpuss' Bradley, jailed armed robber John Daly and a third man from the Kippure area of Finglas who has a lengthy involvement in serious crime.

None of the men are suspects in Hyland's murder.

Alan Bradley attended the dead drug baron's funeral when it was held in Cabra earlier this week.

He is the leader of a criminal gang based in the Cappagh Road area of Finglas and is suspected by gardai of involvement in widespread criminality in the west Dublin area, including armed robbery and drug dealing.

Bradley (32) is currently arranging to pay a Criminal Assets Bureau bill of €350,000, which followed a lengthy investigation into his activities over two years.

A search of waste ground controlled by Bradley in Finglas in October yielded €100,000 of drugs and a quantity of shotgun ammunition. The drugs and ammunition were believed to belong to 'Fatpuss'. Bradley recently relaunched a small car sales business in a bid to raise cash to meet the €750,000 tax demand slammed on him and his brother Wayne by the Criminal Assets Bureau.

As well as selling used cars and scrambler bikes, Bradley controlled a mobile 'van shop' there which he recently closed down.

His rival in crime in the Finglas area is a man who is set for release from prison next year.

John Daly (26) is serving a nine-year sentence in Portlaoise Prison for an armed raid at an Esso station in Finglas in 1999.

Daly was an associate of Declan Curran, the feared armed robber who ran a gang in the Finglas west area and who died in prison two years ago.

Daly, has pledged to return to armed crime on his release from prison.

The third man, in his 30s, is an armed robber feared because of his temper and tendency to use firearms. He is suspected of being behind the murder of John Dillon (53) in Glenties Park in Finglas seven years ago.

He has also engaged in the widespread attempted intimidation of gardai, officers say.

He cannot be named for legal reasons.

Monday, 18 December 2006

Crime bosses set to join mourners at Hyland funeral

By Eugene Moloney

Monday December 18 2006
THE funeral today of murdered gangland boss Martin Hyland is expected to attract the biggest crowd of mourners of any criminal figure since the 1994 service for Martin 'The General' Cahill.

In addition to the murdered drug dealer's immediate family, several hundred mourners, among them prominent figures from the Dublin underworld, are expected to flock to the Church of Christ the King in Cabra, both for his removal this evening at 5pm and his funeral Mass tomorrow morning at 10am.Low-key

Uniformed gardai are expected to adopt a low-key presence, but numerous plain clothes detectives will also attend.

This will give garda surveillance teams a chance to observe which criminals turn up to say goodbye to Hyland, one of seven children, who was born in Cabra in north Dublin in 1967.

In a death notice in newspapers today, Hyland's family have requested that only family flowers be sent.

The notice suggests that donations be made to Temple Street Children's Hospital.

Meanwhile, the funeral of apprentice plumber Anthony Campbell (20), the innocent man who was gunned down by Hyland's killers, takes place on Wednesday.

His mother and father Christine and Noel, stepmother Edel, brothers Travis and Noel and sister Ami are expected to be among a large crowd of mourners who will gather for his removal from Massey Brothers Funeral Home in Thomas Street to John's Lane Church for 6pm tomorrow, and funeral Mass at 10am on Wednesday.

He will be buried later at Newland's Cross Cemetery.

Hyland would have been just short of his 27th birthday when Cahill was gunned down.

At that time, Hyland was linked to Finglas drug dealer PJ Judge, also known as The Psycho, who was himself shot dead. Cahill's funeral featured a fleet of black limousines. Reports put the figure at up to 10.

At his funeral Mass, three priests officiated as family, friends, criminals and the simply curious packed into the Rathmines Church of Mary Immaculate, Refuge of Sinners.

Twelve years after the ruthless killing of Cahill, florists are again reporting brisk trade, with numerous orders for expensive wreaths for the funeral of Hyland.

Gardai were last night revealing none of the security measures that will be in place for the funeral.


Although they will certainly discreetly photograph many of those attending, a garda spokesman would only say last night: "Obviously, we will have a presence."

It is understood some of the dead man's closest associates will act as stewards at the funeral.

While the gardai and the media will be watching to see whether individuals such as Patrick 'Dutchy' Holland or Dessie O'Hare turn up, associates of the late crime boss will also be on the look-out for unwelcome members of rival gangs whose very presence at Hyland's funeral may be deemed unwelcome.

- Eugene Moloney

Sunday, 17 December 2006

IRA links to vicious criminals running our cities

By Jim Cusack

Sunday December 17 2006
IN THE ordinary run of things, the murders of Marlo Hyland, at his in Finglas home on Tuesday morning, and that of Gerard Byrne near the Financial Services Centre on Wednesday, should be two-day wonders which grabbed headlines and, for a moment, had the Government on the back foot over law and order.

But why did Anthony Campbell, a decent, hard-working young man who witnessed Hyland's murder, become a deliberate victim of the hired hit-men now operating in Dublin?

Despite the Taoiseach's apparent assurance that there was no evidence of IRA involvement, some well-placed Garda sources were last week insisting that there was no evidence that IRA or ex-IRA gunmen were not responsible.

For months, Garda surveillance teams had been monitoring Hyland's strange relationship with one of the most evil and dangerous figures thrown up by the Northern Troubles.

Dessie O'Hare was released almost two years ago, after serving 14 years of a 40-year sentence for kidnapping Dublin dentist John O'Grady. The 1987 abduction was one of the worst security crises in the history of the State but, for O'Hare, it was just one incident in a litany of terrorist crimes, including up to 30 murders of security force members in the North, Protestant civilians and members of his own republican terrorist community.

Since being paroled, O'Hare has been openly associating with members of the Dublin criminal underworld, most prominently the man named as the murderer of Veronica Guerin, Eugene Holland.

O'Hare was also covertly filmed in cars and in the company of Marlo Hyland, though there does not appear to have been any serious attempt to rearrest him over his obvious breach of parole conditions, which stipulate that he should not associate with criminals or terrorists.

Last weekend, a few days before Hyland's murder, O'Hare made the seemingly bizarre decision to visit Lourdes, though there has never been any indication that he was religious.

Some gardai believe he was providing himself with an alibi, and that he had been complicit in setting up Hyland for murder.

Given O'Hare's history of knocking off his erstwhile associates in the deadly Irish National Liberation Army, the theory is being treated seriously.

O'Hare is only the most high profile of the figures who developed their terrorist skills in the crucible of the Troubles and who, after it ended, decided to use their skills for profit in the Irish organised crime scene.

The chilling point about the murder of Anthony Campbell, the young plumber fixing a radiator in Hyland's house, is this: the murderers were very well prepared, knowing that Hyland's female relative and child left at a certain time every morning.

The hit was timed for that brief window, when Hyland was supposed to be alone in the house, and there would be no witnesses.

They would have seen Anthony Campbell start his work. At that point the killers made the decision that he too must be murdered.

Unlike "ordinary decent" criminals who could depend on simply threatening the young plumber, they made the judgment of professional killers: that the sole witness would be eliminated.

Anthony Campbell was murdered with a single shot to the head, also the mark of a trained, professional killer.

There is strong evidence that organised crime is being supplemented by the professional skills that were previously the preserve of only the IRA and one or two other terrorist groups.

There is also strong evidence that former IRA members, including men freed under the Good Friday Agreement, are now at the centre of organised crime in Ireland.

The manner of Gerard Byrne's murder last Wednesday has also given rise to suspicions that an outside killer did the job. He was shot dead with a single round to the back of the head, then shot four times.

This is reminiscent of two assassinations carried out by a former republican-turned-assassin in the border area, who shot dead former INLA boss Dominic McGlinchey's wife Mary, at her home in Dundalk, in 1987, and subsequently shot another ex-INLA man, 'Mad' Nicky O'Hare, also in Dundalk in November 2000.

A former IRA officer commanding (OC) is said to have been stood down at the start of 2004, after a series of media revelations about hijackings and other major crimes he was involved in. However, gardai say the man is still surrounded by former IRA associates, and has links to several major criminal endeavours, including drug and cigarette smuggling.

His predecessor as Dublin IRA OC is now based in Alicante and is using former IRA arms supply routes to ship drugs and cigarettes - often accompanied by weapons - to the Dublin crime gangs.

One man in his late 40s who was serving a large sentence for explosives, and released under the Good Friday Agreement, is also closely associated with one of the city's biggest heroin gangs, which has shipped huge amounts of the drug into Ireland.

This gang is run by a close relative who had connections with Sinn Fein in Dublin, but was not known as an IRA member. This younger man dropped his political connections as his drugs operations grew.

Another Belfast man, now in his 50s, who was released under the agreement, has also been linked to some of the tiger kidnappings in which families are held hostage while key-holders are brought to post offices, banks or business premises where money is held.

His gang was responsible for the tiger kidnapping in Rochestown in Cork in May last year, in which a businessman and his family were held hostage.

Two men were caught at the scene when the family was freed but the Belfast man escaped. He was later arrested and questioned but released for lack of evidence.

Gardai say he is still involved in crime, in the border and Dublin areas, where he has links to other former IRA man and is a continuing danger to the public.

- Jim Cusack

Drugs boom fuels Dublin gang killings

Armed police patrol the streets as five murders in a fortnight testify to a ruthless underworld war
Henry McDonald, Ireland editor
The Observer, Sunday 17 December 2006
Christmas shoppers rushing into Dublin's city centre on the busiest week of the year are being greeted at checkpoints by police wearing body armour and carrying Uzi sub-machine guns.
The Garda Emergency Response Unit has been sent on to the streets by Michael McDowell, the Justice Minister, as a visible response to the escalating gangland war that has claimed 24 lives in 2006.
McDowell insists he will maintain an armed presence in Dublin over the festive period. In the last fortnight there have been six gun deaths - five of them related to the city's gangland.
Jimmy Guerin, brother of the murdered reporter Veronica Guerin, recognises the need for police on the streets, but says the reason for the feud is apparent in Dublin's bars and restaurants.
'I had been in this pub at a Christmas party near Phoenix Park. When I went to the toilet I saw three men at the same party snorting cocaine. They were all perfectly respectable young professionals who thought nothing of taking coke for social and recreational use,' he said. 'These are the people who are fuelling the drugs boom and making these gangsters very, very rich. There are only a couple of thousand registered heroin addicts in Dublin; there are hundreds of thousands of social users of drugs, particularly cocaine.'
Guerin contrasts the fortunes of the Dublin drug gangs of 2006 to the handful of dealers that his sister died exposing a decade ago. 'John Gilligan (the man whose gang were behind Veronica's death) and his team were earning around an estimated €25m (£16.8m) when she was killed. That was 10 years ago and today those figures would be far higher. There are dealers in this town earning up to €2m (£1.3m) a week, mainly from cocaine.'
The fate of another Dublin drug dealer, Martin 'Marlo' Hyland, illustrates the volatility of the city's new underworld. Hyland was shot four times in the head while he slept upstairs in his niece's house at Scribblestown Park, Finglas, last Tuesday morning. The 39-year-old dealer had been moving from house to house following a warning that his life was in danger. The street-wise career criminal ran a 10-man-strong gang of young, hardened drug dealers.
Detectives investigating his assassination believe that he was betrayed by at least two of his associates and the reason was simple - greed. 'They simply wanted to take over his operations,' said a senior Garda detective.
'Marlo had built up a vast empire on the northside that stretched from Finglas right over to Coolock. He was making huge profits, and somebody on the inside of the gang wanted more. They had killed other dealers in Finglas who were lowering their prices and getting in their way.'
The ruthless nature of the gang warfare that involves at least three separate feuds across the city was later demonstrated when Marlo's killers shot dead a 20-year old plumber, Anthony Campbell, as he worked on a radiator at the same house.
The plumber had no connections to Marlo or any other criminal boss. Anthony Campbell was targeted in all likelihood because he might have identified the unmasked hit team.
The Garda has scored some successes against organised crime in the city over the last 12 months. Thanks to Operation Oak and Operation Anvil - two major drives against the underworld - 2006 saw a record number of drugs seizures in the Irish Republic.
But those working with drug addicts in Dublin say that at no time in the year did the price of drugs rise as a result of a choking off of the supply.
Another worrying development is the use of bombs, which are being manufactured in Dundalk by former Provisional IRA and dissident republican explosives experts, and then sold on to various gangs.
Joe Costelloe represents the north inner city for the Labour Party, a constituency where many of the murders have taken place. He says that gangland killings have the lowest detection rate of any crime - just 15 per cent.
'There is a big incentive for young hitmen, many of them with drug habits themselves to fund, to go on killing. There is big money for a hit. Then there is the knowledge, which the detection figures show, that you are likely to get away with it,' he said.

Thursday, 14 December 2006

Drugs gang murders to top agenda in election

By Senan Molony and Geraldine Collins

Thursday December 14 2006
THE calculated, cold blooded killing of an innocent plumber and 'Mr Big' of the drug world has catapulted crime to the top of the election agenda.

Taoiseach Bertie Ahern was yesterday left grappling with the tripling of underworld murders over the last three years, as slain drugs lord Martin 'Marlo' Hyland was linked in the Dail with the brutal assassination of Latvian mother-of-two Baiba Saulite. The callousness of the murder of Anthony Campbell was also raised.

Fine Gael leader Enda Kenny suggested Hyland had been "directly involved" in the gunning down of the young woman at the door of her home in Swords, Co Dublin, last month.

Mr Kenny asked the Taoiseach in the Dail if, in briefings given to him, Mr Ahern had received clear information that Marlo Hyland, the assassinated drug baron, was directly involved in the murder of Ms Saulite.

Mr Ahern replied he had "no evidence" of Hyland's involvement in the slaying of Ms Saulite.

"All I have heard is rumours but it is well known that the gun operation in Dublin and beyond was closely associated with Martin Hyland.

"Mr Kenny can work out the rest."


The Fine Gael leader asked if the Taoiseach's briefings extended to the information that the Provisional IRA was in receipt of protection money from the murdered criminal kingpin.

But the Taoiseach responded that he had seen "nothing that implicates anyone in the Provisional IRA" in involvement with Marlo Hyland.

A significant former paramilitary was in the company of Martin Hyland over the summer, but the person was not associated with the Provisional IRA "nor has he been", Mr Ahern said.

The former paramilitary is renegade Republican Dessie O'Hare, the 'Border Fox'.

And the Taoiseach insisted that as a result of targeted surveillance and intelligence in Operation Oak, that "the net was tightening around Martin Hyland".

He declared: "He was losing his grip on his criminal activities. A total of 43 of his associates had been arrested". Of these, 24 had been charged with serious offences within the last year, he added.

Based on intelligence and criminal operations, a further €23m worth of drugs and property have been confiscated.

But Mr Kenny insisted that despite claims Mr Hyland was "losing his grip", his own killing demonstrated that Government operations were not working. That was where the grip was being lost.

Innocent people were being mown down as a result of internal gangland feuds involving drugs and greed and containment efforts were failing. The public perception was that the Government parties had "either lost the bottle to do the business, or are not giving the Garda sufficient impetus to do its job".


Mr Ahern countered that the Government had "at all times" given gardai full resources and statutory powers to deal particularly with gang warfare.

He said most of the 23 who had died this year and the 21 who died last year were victims of gun crimes stemming from "a web of gangs" that operate in Dublin city and county and some surrounding counties.

Labour deputy leader Brendan Howlin said there had been no fewer than seven gun murders in the last month, representing nearly one-third of this year's historic total of 23 fatal shootings. There were only nine in 2004, but 21 in 2005.

"We have had a raft of new laws introduced in recent years, but clearly it is not working," he added.

"Operations Oak and Anvil may be taking out some of the more senior players, but there is a queue of apprentices ready to replace them.

"The Taoiseach and the Department of Justice had to now make tackling these gangs a top priority."

He added on radio that if the events of the last couple of months had not rocked the Government from its complacency, then this "must be the moment".

"Current policy has failed."

More resources are needed and steps taken to ensure small-time mule and feeder dealers were not available to provide drugs to addicts on the streets.

- Senan Molony and Geraldine Collins

Wednesday, 13 December 2006

The rise and fall of a top drug boss

By Tom Brady

Wednesday December 13 2006
MURDER victim Martin Hyland had established himself as Ireland's biggest drugs baron in the past two years.

Although a career criminal, he was a latecomer to the lucrative premier league of drug trafficking after investing the profits he garnered from a series of armed robberies in a number of shipments being smuggled into the country.

Hyland switched to the narcotics trade when gardai cracked down on the gangs primarily responsible for a spate of armed raids on cash-in-transit vans in the earlier part of the decade.

His decision to switch to drugs was taken three years ago and within a year he had emerged as one of the most active and ruthless crime figures in the business here. By the end of 2005, senior Garda officers were satisfied he was gangland's number one boss. A top level Garda conference discussing how to tackle the wave of violence in gangland led to the setting up of Operation Oak, which was aimed specifically at shutting down Hyland's activities.

Gardai were aware that Hyland had built up a nest egg from his substantial slice of more than €2m which had been netted from the armed raids in Dublin and surrounding counties, mainly in 2003 and 2004.

Hyland and his northside associates, were reckoned to be responsible for the vast bulk of the robberies from the security vans as they delivered cash to ATMs.


The robberies yielded an estimated total of €3m and Hyland's outfit struck at targets in Drogheda, Co Louth, Swords, Dublin, Palmerstown, Dublin Maynooth, Co Kildare, and Enfield, Co Meath.

The robberies prompted gardai to set up Operation Delivery involving a 25-strong team drawn from the National Bureau of Criminal Investigation.

That operation led to a series of arrests, and as security firms introduced tighter measures to control the movement of cash shipments, the gangs were forced to divert their attention to other areas.

Hyland came close to being caught on the job last April when some of his closest associates were captured in a Garda net as they were about to snatch an €80,000 payroll from a firm in Balbriggan, Co Dublin.

Detectives from two specialist operations, Delivery and Steel, were backed up by members of the Emergency Response Unit as they lay in wait following an intelligence lead. The robbery was foiled, arrests were made but Hyland escaped.

However, another blow to his bank balance had been struck by the gardai, who had previously intercepted a ton of cannabis, with an estimated street value of €700,000 at Drumcondra Rd in Dublin in December.

As gardai penetrated his gang, Hyland no longer appeared to be Mr Untouchable and the impact of the Garda attention brought him into further conflict with other criminals as he sought to keep ahead of his rivals and eliminate those he believed responsible for the seizures.

It was only a matter of time before he became the latest gangland victim.

- Tom Brady