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

Sunday, 5 October 2008

Peace deal brokered in south Dublin drugs feud

Sunday Tribune

Ali Bracken Crime Correspondent
Killester: Barry killed last month
'Fat'Freddie Thompson: is currently out of the country following a series of death threats
1 2 A tentative peace deal has been brokered between criminals involved in the longstanding Crumlin-Drimnagh feud in the past two weeks.
Senior garda sources say criminals from both factions in Ireland and abroad have made contact with each other and agreed the violence should stop for the time being. It is understood families on both sides were behind the move, following incidents in the summer where family members of those involved were targeted in attacks.
Eleven men have so far died in the feud. The most recent killing linked to it was the death of Christopher Barry (25), from Killester in Dublin, who was shot in Byrne's Bookmakers on Killester Avenue on 13 September.
"Things have calmed down at the moment. There's been contact between some of the senior members in Ireland and abroad and they have agreed to stop the violence for the moment," according to a well-placed garda source.
"We don't believe it was a sit-down meeting, just phone contact. They are in the business of drug dealing and would prefer to be making money doing that than losing money trying to kill each other. But it's hard to know how long it will last, anything could happen to start it off again. There have been attempts at peace between them in the past."
Early last week, an investigation headed by the Organised Crime Unit (OCU) and detectives in Crumlin resulted in the seizure of cannabis and heroin valued at over €4m at different locations in Dublin. The target of the operation was a gang leader from the Crumlin and Drimnagh area and close associate of 'Fat' Freddie Thompson. Thompson is currently out of the country following a series of death threats.
Four men in total were arrested. Two men in their 20s arrested on Tuesday in Templeogue have been charged in relation to the seizure of 10kg of heroin, 14kg of cocaine and 4kg of cannabis. Both have been remanded in custody and will appear in court again on Wednesday. A man and woman arrested in relation to the seizure of herbal cannabis and cocaine on Monday were released without charge and a file is being prepared for the DPP.
The drug seizures followed a lengthy surveillance of criminals who were renting apartments in Dublin suburbs Foxrock, Stepaside, Castleknock and Templeogue.
"This is a common enough tactic. They picked these areas not because they are in upmarket areas, as has been suggested, but because they are in isolated areas," the garda added.
October 5, 2008

Saturday, 4 October 2008

Twenty extra gardai target city gangs

Irish Herald

By Kevin Doyle
Saturday October 04 2008
TWENTY additional gardai have been drafted into the Coolock area to quell the rising gangland tensions and feuds.
The Herald has learned that the large complement of officers were put on the beat in recent weeks following a number of violent incidents, including the murder of Anthony "Anto" Foster in broad daylight.
Coolock was also the scene for the senseless murder of innocent young mother Donna Cleary who was shot dead at a house party in 2006.
Officers are now more determined than ever to clampdown on a number of young gangs that have begun to spring up on the northside.
Tensions have been bubbling among well armed gangs who are competing for the Coolock-Darndale drugs trade.
Welcoming the allocation, local Fianna Fail Senator Martin Brady told the Herald that criminals operating in the area need to know that gardai are watching them.
"I am delighted that a further 20 gardai will be on the beat," he said, adding: "This area has experienced a large number of crimes and it is vital that the gardai have a strong visible presence in the area to act as an effective deterrent to criminals and gangs who continue to plague our communities."
Speaking about the large number of incidents to take place within close proximity of decent residents, Senator Brady said: "This move will ensure that people feel safer on the streets and in their homes."
He added: "I will continue to lobby for further funding and resources to tackling crime and anti-social behaviour."
Gardai have successfully dealt blows to the networks already, seizing €1.5m worth of cocaine in January, as part of Operation Thaw.
Senior officers believe that the gang responsible for that haul is led by a notorious Traveller family who gardai would love to take down.
The gang also have a supply of firearms, ammunition and drugs paraphernalia.
The most recent garda figures for the area show that headline or serious crimes increased by 65pc between 2000 and 2007, causing parts of the community to live in fear.
- Kevin Doyle