Sunday, 7 December 2008

Gangland murders rise by 60%

Sunday Tribune

Ali Bracken Crime correspondent
There has been a 60% increase in gangland killings this year and justice minister Dermot Ahern has now vowed to make organised and drug-related crime a priority for next year.
There have been 19 such killings so far this year, compared with 12 in 2007, according to an analysis of gangland murders conducted by the Sunday Tribune. This represents a rise of 58%.
Sean Cloherty (27) is the latest gangland victim to lose his life. The drug dealer was shot dead at his home on 25 November while his baby daughter slept upstairs. Cloherty had built up a sizeable number of enemies because of his involvement in the drugs trade. He was shot five times with a handgun in the neck and upper body at his home in Ashcroft Grove in Blakestown, west Dublin.
Just two weeks before that, rugby captain Shane Geoghegan (28) was returning home from watching the Ireland-Canada rugby game at a friend's house in the Kilteragh estate in Limerick when he was shot dead. He was killed by gangland criminals who mistook him for a member of the Keane-Collopy drugs gang.
The rival McCarthy-Dundon gang was responsible for the murder. Other high-profile gangland killings include the murder in August of armed robber Paul 'Farmer' Martin (39), who was shot as he sat drinking in the Jolly Toper pub, in Finglas, Dublin.
Fine Gael justice spoke­s­man Charlie Flanagan said swift action was needed to tackle the escalating problem. "It clearly shows that gangland [activity] is thriving not only in Dublin but in other parts of the country. As a society we cannot have a situation where certain areas run by gangland figures are expanding. It's an affront to the democratic process."
He added that Fine Gael's recently published Criminal Justice Violent Crime Prevention Bill would lower the number of gangland murders. It proposes restricting the movements of known gangland criminals on the word of garda chief superintendents and lengthy jail sentences for criminals who breach these bonds.
Last week, Ahern said funding to tackle the issue will be maintained next year.
December 7, 2008

Wednesday, 19 November 2008

Mum blames gang feud for gardai abuse

Irish Herald

By Eimear Cotter
Wednesday November 19 2008
A MUM who abused gardai told a court she is living in constant fear of her life, due to a feud between rival gangs in her area.
Joanna Daly (37) said one of the gangs threatened to kill her and her 18-year-old son, who has been dragged into the feud.
Daly said she has contacted Dublin City Council and is trying to get a new home for herself and her two teenagers.
Daly admitted to threatening and abusive behaviour and refusing to follow a garda's directions at Shangan Road, Ballymun.
She said she feared for her safety and the safety of her children and her behaviour was due to a belief that the gardai were not doing enough to help her.
Garda Robin Faughnan said gardai were called to Shangan Road, Ballymun on July 14 last to deal with a public order incident. The garda said Daly, who had taken drink, was continually abusive to gardai. She was directed a number of times to go inside her house, which she did, but she came back out and continued to abuse gardai.
Defence lawyer Brendan Foley said there was a feud between gangs in two areas near to where Daly lives, and her son has become involved in the feud.
Mr Foley said that, on the evening in question, a group of men carrying baseball bats, carjacks, knives and wheel braces pulled up outside Daly's house on Shangan Road, Ballymun.
The men threatened her and told her to send out her son so they could kill him. When she refused to do this they said they were going to kill her.
Gda Faughnan agreed with Mr Foley that the people were outside Daly's house, but said they were there for two or three minutes, and Daly's abusive behaviour lasted four or five hours.
The defendant said her windows had been smashed by these gangs and she was living in fear for her life. She also said she was trying to move away from the area.
The court heard that Daly had seven previous convictions for public order matters.
She is a recovering heroin addict, and is on anti-depressants and valium. She is also a mother to two teenagers. A third child and her former partner had both died as a result of an addiction to heroin.
Judge John Lindsay sentenced Daly to one month in prison suspended for six months.
- Eimear Cotter

Sunday, 16 November 2008

Geoghegan murder suspects flee to Britain

Sunday Tribune

Mick McCaffrey Security Editor
Garda Commissioner Fachtna Murphy: top priorityGardaí have identified two prime suspects for the murder of rugby captain Shane Geoghegan last week and believe the pair have fled to Britain.
The Sunday Tribune understands the man who pulled the trigger is in his early 20s and from Dublin's north inner city.
He is related to slain gangland executioner Paddy Doyle, who was shot dead in Spain last February.
The man is not well-known to gardaí and is believed to have got involved in organised crime following Doyle's murder.
He has previous convictions for minor offences and was not on the garda's radar before last Sunday morning's murder.
Sources say he moved to Limerick two months ago and has been living with a member of the McCarthy-Dundon crime gang.
It is believed he carried out the killing as a favour to the Limerick gang. He was spotted by gardaí at Sheriff Street in Dublin within the past 10 days.
Paddy Doyle and his crime associate, 'Fat' Freddie Thompson, had built close ties with the Dundon gang and gardaí say the Limerick and Dublin outfits are effectively intertwined, which is making the investigation more difficult because it spans garda divisions.
The Dublin suspect was driven to the scene of the murder in Dooradoyle by a
19-year-old from the Prospect area of Limerick.
The man is well-known to detectives in the city and is a lieutenant in the Dundon-McCarthy gang.
He assumed more responsibility in the gang after the jailing of key members over the past two years.
The two hitmen drove to the Clonmore area of the Kilteragh housing estate with the intention of murdering a 33-year-old member of the Keane/Collopy gang.
The man has lived in the area for several years and has been the victim of three previous attacks in which bullets were fired at his home.
Because the gunman was not a local and did not know the area, he mistook the innocent 28-year-old Shane Geoghegan for his intended target and shot him five times with a Glock pistol close to the home he shared with his fiancée.
The intended target of the attack has now gone to ground.
After the botched assassination, the two men are believed to have immediately travelled to Liverpool and are thought to be staying in a safe house while senior gang members decide what to do next.
The intention of the assassination had been to weaken the Keane gang before its leader, Christy Keane, is released from Portlaoise prison next February.
The Dundon gang has managed to weaken its rivals significantly and wants to take control of drug dealing in the city.
The Geoghegan murder has had the opposite effect, however, and has resulted in the city being swarmed with uniformed and plain-clothes gardaí.
Garda commissioner Fachtna Murphy is under significant political pressure to solve the murder, and the fact that more than 30 homes in Limerick, Cork and Dublin were raided last week shows the investigation is the force's top priority.
However, senior sources say it will be very difficult to bring those responsible to justice because it is likely the murder weapon will never be found and the killers are believed to have left few forensic clues at the scene.
November 16, 2008

Friday, 7 November 2008

Irish police seize yacht with cocaine worth more than £500m

Two Britons held in drugs haul from Caribbean boat off the coast of County Cork
Jenny Percival and agencies, Friday 7 November 2008 09.47 GMT
Police guard the yacht Dances with Waves as it is towed in to Castletownbere in County Cork, Ireland. Photograph: Niall Carson/PA
A luxury yacht packed with cocaine worth more than half a billion pounds was towed ashore under armed guard today after it was seized off the Irish coast.
Gale force winds and seven-metre-high waves had hampered the capture of the yacht, Dances With Waves, but this morning it was anchored in an isolated part of the small fishing port of Castletownbere, in County Cork.
A section of the harbour was sealed off as customs and police officers began stripping down the vessel.
Police would also begin questioning three men – two Britons and one man originally from Dublin - who were arrested and brought ashore last night after armed authorities stormed the 60ft cruiser in international waters 150 miles off south-west Cork.
The trio, aged between 44 and 52, had been at sea for more than a month.
The yacht, which is understood to have been registered to a UK port in the past, is laden with cocaine that could total 1.7 tonnes and could be worth as much as 700m euros (£572m). The haul is one of the largest drugs seizures in Europe this year and is expected to eclipse last year's record find off County Cork.
Today's haul was intercepted when authorities launched an operation codenamed Sea Bright after receiving intelligence from European anti-drugs officials. The yacht had been under surveillance since it left the Caribbean.
The Irish taoiseach, Brian Cowen, and the justice minister, Dermot Ahern, have praised authorities for the success.
Last year a cocaine batch of the same size and valued at 440m euros washed up on the Cork coast near Mizen Head after an elaborate trafficking scam fell apart.
The smuggling ring was foiled when a boat used by the gang broke down in a heavy swell, and overturned, dumping 62 bales of high-grade drugs into the sea.

Thursday, 23 October 2008

Dealers begin to flood city with crack cocaine

Dealers begin to flood city with crack cocaine

By Tom Brady Security Editor

Thursday October 23 2008

IRISH drug dealers have begun distributing crack cocaine throughout the Dublin region.

However, the market is dominated by west African drug dealers who are importing cocaine through a network of couriers.

Despite targeted garda operations, the north-inner city remains the primary distribution ground and sales are largely restricted to users who are known to the traffickers.

A report into the prevalence of crack cocaine was launched yesterday by Drugs Minister John Curran, as EU justice and home affairs ministers prepared to give their approval to a major international police initiative to crack down on west African gangs who are flooding the streets of Europe with cocaine.

Ministers will hear at their meeting in Luxembourg tomorrow that last year the west Africans brought in cocaine shipments to Europe with an overall street value of €18bn. European police fear drug imports will increase as the markets decline in the US.

The report, from the Health Research Board, said that "rocks" of crack cocaine were being sold in €50 or €100 quantities. The report also revealed several of the "marketing initiatives" used by dealers, which include:

l Encouraging heroin users to switch to crack cocaine by claiming there is a heroin drought.

l Creating party packs where crack is sold in combination with heroin, cocaine, ecstasy or cannabis.

l Targeting known drug users outside methadone clinics.

l Enticing young buyers by marketing crack as "smokeable" cocaine.

The report also showed that users resorted to shoplifting, burglary and robbery to fund their crack habit; while there was an increasing number of women turning to prostitution to pay for deals.

Crack users, who were interviewed by researchers, said their spend ranged from €200 a week up to €11,000 on a two-day binge. A €50 rock is generally described as half the size of a thumbnail and could be enough for four pipes, or smokes.


The prices here are estimated to be higher than the generally reported UK and US street prices. In Dublin's north-inner city between January 2005 and December 2007, detectives from the garda national drugs unit made 23 seizures of crack cocaine, 23 subsequent crack-related arrests and secured 11 convictions. Five people are due to be sentenced as a result of the arrests.

Mr Curran said it was good news that the crack cocaine market had not taken hold in Ireland to the extent it had in other countries.

But the report highlighted the need to remain vigilant.

Crack's emergence here was attributed partly to the arrival of the west African dealers, who had the skills to prepare the drug as well as access to cocaine supply routes.

- Tom Brady Security Editor

Tuesday, 21 October 2008

Teenage hitman

Irish Herald

Tuesday October 21 2008
THE prime suspect in the 14th gun murder this year may be as young as 17, gardai said.
Detectives are hunting the youth after Gavin McCarthy was shot dead in Dublin’s north inner city – streets away from the busy IFSC.
The 24-year-old was known by gardai but was not a major gangland figure and it is believed he was gunned down in a feud sparked by the jailing of a local drug lord for rape.
Superintendent Ray Barry said the suspected killer cycled up to McCarthy on Sheriff Street at around 9pm on Sunday and shot him dead at point blank range.
He said the gunman was aged in his late teens, of slim build, around 5ft 8ins and wearing sports trainers.
"We are appealing for information on a young man between the ages of 17-19 who was wearing dark clothing and had a scarf on his face," Supt Barry said.
"It seems he arrived on the scene on a bike and made his escape on a bike."
Gardai believe the bike and the handgun were dumped near the murder scene but neither has been recovered.
The shooting took place outside Noctor's bar and the street remained sealed off for most of today as garda forensic teams examined the footpath for evidence.
A taxi parked yards from where the killing took place was also inspected by detectives.
Joe Costello, Labour TD for the area, said the Government had failed to tackle the root cause of gang violence and criminality.
"Sheriff Street is located adjacent to the IFSC and the docklands, both symbols of Irish affluence. Yet the development of Sheriff Street has been totally neglected," he said.
"The area is prone to high unemployment, poor facilities for young and old, and an appalling physical infrastructure and the easy availability of drugs."
Mr McCarthy is the 14th gangland murder victim this year -- while two other men are missing, believed dead.
His killing has been linked to a local feud which started when notorious drug dealer Christy Griffin, from Canon Lillis Avenue, was charged with raping his partner's daughter over several years.
Local crime factions in Sheriff Street split over the sx attacks and began targeting each other -- some supporting the victim and others Griffin. He was found guilty and jailed for life in April 2007.

Monday, 20 October 2008

Tensions soar after gangland victim dies in hail of bullets

Tensions soar after gangland victim dies in hail of bullets

By Tom Brady Security Editor

Monday October 20 2008

A man was shot dead outside a fish and chip shop in Dublin city centre last night -- the fourth victim of a deadly feud that has been running for three years.

Gardai believe the gunman made his escape on a bicycle. The victim was named locally last night as 24-year-old Gavin McCarthy, of Oriel Street, Dublin.

He was well known to local detectives and was a suspect for at least one shooting carried out on behalf of one of the feuding gangs.

Last night's shooting took place around 9pm, across the road from Noctor's pub in Sheriff Street. McCarthy was believed to have been shot several times in the face with a handgun.

The fatal shot is thought to have struck him in the mouth.

McCarthy was rushed by car to the Mater Hospital but was pronounced dead soon afterwards.

Gardai are working on the theory that he is the latest victim of a feud that has resulted in armed patrols on the streets of the north inner city since 2005. It erupted after a girl claimed she had been raped. Gang leader Christy Griffin was later sentenced to life imprisonment in connection with the incident.

McCarthy is thought to have been an associate of the Griffin gang. Gardai said he was an active gang member and that he was suspected of being involved in drugs in the north city.

The first victim of the feud was Gerard 'Batt' Byrne, who was shot in the Irish Financial Services Centre on December 13, 2006. Two weeks later, Stephen Ledden was shot dead in Oriel Street.

Members of the Emergency Response Unit were immediately sent on round-the-lock patrols in the tension-filled area and to prevent bloodshed.

But there were several shootings and pipebomb attacks in the north inner city and Finglas as part of the feud.

Last April another Griffin associate, Anthony Russell (30), was shot dead in the Ardilea pub in Artane where he was attending a function following a funeral.

Last month, 24-year-old Christy Barry, from Killester, north Dublin was shot once in the face by a lone gunman who targeted him at a bookmakers on Killester Avenue.

He was the 14th gangland murder victim so far this year.

Gardai said last night's gunman may have had an accomplice. Officers described the area as very tense and extra gardai were drafted into the area as a major investigation got under way.

- Tom Brady Security Editor

Who's next in city feud that's claimed four lives so far?

Irish Herald

By Lisa-Anne Crookes
Monday October 20 2008
NOW that the north inner city feud has been ignited again, the question is inevitably: when will the next murder be?
The shooting dead of Gavin McCarthy is the fourth murder in the inner city feud sparked by Christy Griffin's shocking abuse of his partner's child.
The ongoing feud between two north Dublin gangs saw its first murder in December 2006 with the shooting of Gerald "Batt" Byrne.
Byrne was shot after details of the shocking abuse by the drug dealer and armed robber on the young girl emerged in 2005.
Griffin is currently serving a life sentence after being convicted of the brutal rape but the allegations caused a split between former allies.
One sided with drug dealer and armed robber, Griffin. The other side went with the girl's family.
"Batt" Byrne, from Ferryman's Crossing, was shot once in the head and five times in the chest as he passed a Mace shop in the IFSC on December 13, 2006.
He was killed by associates of Griffin who, gardai believe, targeted him because they feared he was about to stage an attack on them.
In what is widely believed to have been a revenge attack, Stephen Ledden (28), was shot dead as he slept on a couch in his mother's home at Oriel Street just two days after Christmas that year.
Ledden was a pal of many of the gang members, but sources say he was not the target, and was mistaken for another man.
Both killings took place during Griffin's trial. It was an uneasy time for both sides and gardai, who feared an all-out war on the streets of Dublin as a result of the feud, saturated the area around Sheriff Street with the backing of the armed ERU and helicopter surveillance.
The pressure appeared to have worked for more than a year as the feuding gangs kept a much lower profile with fewer attacks.
But the bitter hatred between the two sides had not been quelled. The next victim of the inner city feud came in 2007, when 30-year-old Anthony Russell was shot dead in the Ardilea pub in Artane on April 18, as he was attending a function following a funeral.
It is believed that Russell was a close associate of Christy Griffin.
The feud has been ongoing since the arrest and conviction of Christy Griffin, who is now serving life imprisonment for the rape and sxual abuse of his partner's young daughter.
The crimes by the inner city thug divided a community and the result has been continued violence, and tit-for-tat attacks.
Griffin, of Ridgewood Green, Swords, formerly of Canon Lillis Avenue, Dublin, is a career criminal.
At the Central Criminal Court in April 2007, he was sentenced to life in prison for the rape and sxual assault of a young girl. Mr Justice Paul Carney was told that the girl, now in her early 20s, consented to Griffin's name being used by the media.
He was convicted of one count of oral rape of the girl (then in her teens) in 1998, one count of rape in 2001 and nine counts of indecent assault on dates from 1993 to 1998.
He denied all charges.
- Lisa-Anne Crookes

Sunday, 12 October 2008

Gang victim may refuse to testify at murder trial

Sunday Tribune

Mick McCaffrey Security Editor
A member of major criminal 'Fat' Freddie Thompson's gang who was allegedly stabbed by his boss in Dublin city last Thursday will be a key witness in the murder trial of one of Thompson's rivals, the Sunday Tribune can reveal.
The 25-year-old man received serious stab injuries to his face, head and stomach in an alley near Cork Street after allegedly being attack­ed by Thompson and three of his associates.
Gardaí believe the victim, who is from Crumlin, was attacked because of Thompson's frustration that the majority of his drugs shipments have been intercepted by gardaí recently.
Although there is no evidence the man was in any way involved in drugs, the gang are believed to have attacked him to teach other junior members a lesson.
Ironically, the victim, who is in a serious condition in hospital, is a pivotal witness in the murder trial of a rival criminal from south Dublin which is scheduled to begin next year.
Details of the murder cannot be revealed for legal reasons but the injured man is one of only a small number of eyewitnesses to the killing and his cooperation may be crucial in determining whether the man is convicted. If he eventually decides not to testify and the man is acquitted, it will be a major blow to 27-year-old Thompson who has control of the drugs market around Crumlin, Drimnagh and the south-inner city.
The stabbed man has refused to cooperate with gardaí and will not make a statement.
Informed sources say there will be no charges relating to last week's attack. The investigation is being led by detectives from Kevin Street garda station.
Among those detained at the scene in Ave Maria Avenue in Maryland were a female relative of Thompson and two of his closest associates.
One of these men is the prime suspect in the attempted murder of 'The Viper' Martin Foley outside a gym in Kimmage last January. He has not been charged in relation to that attack.
A senior garda source investigating from Kevin Street said: "It just shows you how desperate Freddie has become if he is prepared to attack and possibly murder one of the men who can help to put his bitter rival away for murder.
"He will be left in a very awkward position if the latest victim refuses to cooperate in the forthcoming trial."
Thompson's gang is involved in two disputes with the INLA as well as a rival drugs gang based in the south city.
October 12, 2008

Wednesday, 8 October 2008

New measures to tackle crime operations in jail

Irish Herald

By Lisa-Anne Crookes
Wednesday October 08 2008
New measures have been introduced to stamp out gang activity and criminal business operating from behind bars.
To counter the gang networking carried out in jail, prison officials have introduced new security and intelligence schemes.
Dermot Ahern, Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform, said measures were being put in place in response to pressure for action on organised crime gangs that operate their empires from prison.
"A number of recent initiatives have been introduced with a view to preventing identified gang leaders from conducting their business while in custody and also to prevent them exerting inappropriate influence over other persons," he said.
"For example, a number of serious criminal gang members are now segregated in a specific area of Cloverhill Prison," he added.
Also, a new intelligence-gathering operation has been established inside prisons -- which insiders say is set to seriously hamper crime operations.
"An operational support group has been established. A core function of this group is to gather and collate intelligence information on criminal gang members in our prisons and to carry out intelligence-led searches on them," a Department of Justice spokesperson confirmed.
The main new initiative introduced by Irish prisons in recent months, to combat the rise in gang activity behind bars and in a reaction to a series of embarrassing gaffes, has been the clamp down on mobile phone use in jails.
"The pilot mobile phone blocking scheme in the Midlands Prison is now nearing completion with the expectation that inhibitors will be installed in all our closed prisons over the next 18 to 24 months," said a Prison Service spokesman.
The spokesperson said that the system had enjoyed positive feedback and would be expanded to include other prisons.
"This new technology is not available anywhere else in the world."
- Lisa-Anne Crookes