Friday, 8 June 2007

DNA identifies drugs gang pair buried in concrete

By Gerard Couzens and Tom Brady

Friday June 08 2007

SPANISH authorities have used DNA to formally identify two murdered Irish gangsters whose bodies were found there nearly a year ago.

Drug baron Shane Coates (31), and his right-hand man Stephen Sugg (27), were discovered buried under concrete on an industrial estate on the Costa Blanca last July.

Their bodies were officially identified with the aid of DNA swabs that had been brought to Spain by members of the Garda national drugs unit.

But 11 months on, their families are still unable to give them a proper burial in Ireland.

The Spanish authorities are unable to give a date for the release of the bodies because of legal technicalities.

This is because another Irishman is under police investigation in connection with their disappearance.

The sole suspect is a 36-year-old Dublin man. Originally from Finglas, he has been living in the holiday resort of Torrevieja for almost six years.

He had previously rented out the warehouse, where the bodies were found under a concrete floor, in the farming town of Catral near Torrevieja, and was arrested shortly after the find.

He remains on police bail and has to report to a local police station every 15 days.

He was locked up in maximum-security Foncalent Jail for several weeks before being freed on bail.

Coates and Sugg, members of the notorious Westies crime gang, left Ireland in 2004 after a reign of terror against other drug dealers.

The pair moved to Torrevieja in south east Spain to recreate their Irish empire but fell foul of rival drug gangs.

Police suspect they had swindled other dealers out of a shipment of cocaine and hashish.

The two west Dublin men were lured from their villa complex at Orihuela Costa, outside Torrevieja, on the evening of January 31, 2004, in the belief that they were going to discuss a drugs deal. Instead, Coates, from Hartstown, and Sugg, from Corduff, Blanchardstown, were taken to Catral, and shot dead at point-blank range.

- Gerard Couzens and Tom Brady

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