Saturday, 6 January 2007

Probe after top drug supplier believed shot dead in Spain

By Tom Brady

Saturday January 06 2007
GARDAI are liaising with police in Madrid to establish if a Dublin-born drugs supplier has been shot dead in the south of Spain.

Criminal sources have told gardai that the trafficker, in his late 40s and a native of Finglas, has been murdered as part of a drugs row. But police have not been able to confirm this.

The man has been living in Spain since September but has returned to Dublin regularly over the past four months. He was last seen in the Finglas area about two weeks ago. Rumours about his murder have been circulating in the criminal underworld for the past week.

There are no details about where the shooting is alleged to have taken place or where the criminal had been living in Spain.

The man is regarded as a major supplier of drugs, mainly cocaine and cannabis, to gangs operating on the northside of Dublin.

He is linked to a gang which has been involved in a feud with the outfit led by late crime boss Martin 'Marlo' Hyland, who was murdered by two of his associates in Finglas last month.

The missing man is particularly close to a Dublin man who was believed to have been the intended target of a murder attempt on the northside last November. The plan was foiled after members of the garda's organised crime unit and the emergency response unit stopped a van and a motorcycle at Botanic Road in Glasnevin and arrested two men. No guns were found and the two suspects were not charged in connection with the murder bid.

However, subsequent searches of a number of houses in the Duleek and Clonee areas led to the discovery of a cocaine processing plant and the seizure of cocaine with a potential street value of up to €500,000, as well as two firearms and five stolen high-powered vehicles.

Up to September, the missing criminal had been commuting regularly between here and Liverpool, where he had been using his overseas contacts to organise drug shipments for the northside gangs, operating particularly in Cabra, Finglas and Ballymun.

According to gardai, he was a career criminal who became heavily involved in armed robberies in the early 1980s and then moved into the more lucrative drugs business. Before establishing a base in Liverpool, he had been using addresses in Finglas, Ballymun, Ballyfermot and Clondalkin.

During the 1990s, he was arrested in connection with a major drugs haul in the west of Ireland and was given a heavy jail sentence.

He was also an associate during that decade of murdered criminals PJ Judge and David Weafer.

Last July, the bodies of the two missing Westies gangsters, Shane Coates and Stephen Sugg, were found buried beside a warehouse in the Costa Blanca town of Catral, more than two years after they were shot dead for double-crossing another Irish drugs gang over a cannabis deal.

Coates (34), from Hartstown, and Sugg (27), from Corduff, Blanchardstown, were lured from their villa complex at Orihuela Costa, outside Torrevieja, on the evening of January 31, 2004, in the belief they were going to discuss a drugs deal.

Instead, they were taken to Catral, shot dead and their bodies dumped in a grave alongside the warehouse.

- Tom Brady

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