Thursday, 29 January 2009

Gang victim is buried as gardai hunt for his killer

Irish Herald

By Conor Feehan
Thursday January 29 2009
The funeral of Tallaght gangland victim Stephen O'Halloran, who was shot dead outside his home on January 19, took place as gardai continue to hunt for his killers.
O'Halloran was targeted by two men armed with 9mm Glock handguns as he sat in his car on Kilmartin Drive.
Two friends who were in the car with him were also shot but fled to the safety of O'Halloran's house before being rushed to hospital.
The remains of the father-of-one were reposing at a relative's house last night before being brought to St Aidan's Church in Tallaght's Brookfield for the funeral mass at noon today. Burial was immediately afterwards at Newlands Cross Cemetery.
O'Halloran (20), was a small-time local criminal believed to have been trying to gain a foothold on drug distribution before being killed by rivals.
The two other men, Anthony Harte (25), from Kilcarrig Gardens in Tallaght and Paul Corr (21), from Griffeen Glen Dale in Lucan, were both hit in the attack, but are expected to recover from their injuries.
Two semi-automatic Glock handguns found near the scene of the shooting are being closely examined for DNA or other forensic evidence.
- Conor Feehan

Tuesday, 27 January 2009

Irish drugs trafficker lured to his death on the Costa by one call

Irish Herald

By Cormac Looney
Tuesday January 27 2009
SLAIN fugitive Richard Keogh was gunned down by a hitman who lured him on to a Spanish street with a simple phone call.
As the 30-year-old Cabra man left his bar rendezvous with a South American pal, a car stopped and a hitman emerged.
He fired at Keogh, hitting him once in front of his girlfriend, before chasing after his target. He shot the Dubliner a further six times -- including twice in the head.
The gunman was driven off in the stolen getaway car, which was recovered nearby with its keys in the ignition. A pair of gloves and a spent handgun magazine were also discovered in the car. All the materials are being examined.
The car was found a kilometre away from the scene of the murder, at the Torrequebrada hotel and casino at Benalmadena, southern Spain.
The Venezuelan man who had been drinking with Keogh in the minutes before his death was interviewed by police yesterday, but is not a suspect. He was held in custody after police discovered an arrest warrant existed for him in Venezuela.
The garda liaison officer, based in Madrid, is now working with Spanish National Police to uncover any links between the murder and a previous attempt on Keogh's life in Ireland 14 months ago.
Keogh survived after being struck in the arm, as he carried one of his children out the front door of his home on the Belfry estate in Duleek, Co Louth, in November 2007. He relocated to Spain with his partner and four children shortly afterwards.
"Keogh knew he was under threat and that the gang who targeted him in Duleek were still out to get him. He had no major falling out with any Costa gangs we known about, so the Dublin connection is a strong line of investigation," said a source.
Keogh came to garda attention as a major criminal around five years ago, when then gang boss Marlo Hyland used him as a bagman during drug dealing activities in north Dublin.
Former Detective Inspector Brian Sherry, who policed the Cabra area and battled the Hyland gang, told the Herald yesterday: "Pressure would have been exerted on Keogh from a number of sources -- in relation to Marlo's cash."
- Cormac Looney

Monday, 26 January 2009

Getaway car gives clues to Costa killing of Irish drug dealer

Irish Herald

By Cormac Looney and Gerard Couzens
Monday January 26 2009
POLICE were today closing in on the killer of Irish drugs trafficker Richard Keogh after locating the car used in the Costa del Sol hit.
Detectives were today examining the vehicle for fingerprints after a botched attempt by the gunman to set it alight outside a school near the scene.
Forensic experts took away a handgun cartridge and gloves abandoned in the Honda Civic.
The suspect left the vehicle with the engine still running less than half a mile away from the spot where Keogh (30) was gunned down opposite a casino in Torrequebrada, near the resort of Benalmadena.
It has emerged that the murder may have been ordered by a Northside criminal gang.
Senior gardai believe that the shooting is connected to a previous attempt on his life over a year ago, when he was shot and injured as he walked with his daughter outside his home in Duleek, Co Louth.
Keogh, originally from Carnlough Road in Cabra, was shot up to 10 times at 11pm last Saturday. He died instantly. Police are working on the theory the gunman was a passenger in the car and was working with an accomplice driving the vehicle.
Keogh tried to escape after being shot at twice but fell injured outside a supermarket opposite the casino before being killed at close range.
Radiologists who examined his body at a hospital in Malaga are said to have identified shots to his back, head, thigh, leg and arm.
Bruno Bernet, a waiter at a nearby Italian restaurant, said: “Customers jumped when they heard the shots. I heard five.”
Keogh narrowly survived a shooting outside his home in November 2007. That attack was linked to a dispute with a north Dublin gang. Gardai believe that they hired a former subversive to shoot Keogh.
The gang became involved in a row with Keogh as both sides battled for control of the drugs trade in Cabra and the greater Dublin 7 area. Both Keogh and his rivals were former pals of Marlo Hyland but went their separate ways after Hyland’s murder in 2006.
Officers in Dublin today provided background information on Keogh to Spanish police, as the garda liaison officer headed from Madrid to Benalmadena.
A source said: “Early indications are that the murder is linked to a feud Keogh was involved in with a north Dublin gang.
“After the 2007 attack he knew he had to leave the country. He had good connections in Spain but we believe his rivals had good reach over there as well.
“His connections to international gangs will also be looked at, but at present the focus is fixed on the Dublin dispute.”
Keogh was a long-time target of the Garda National Drugs Unit and officers from the Mountjoy and Balbriggan areas of the city. He was a one-time associate of slain Finglas crime boss Marlo Hyland but gardai believe that Keogh had operated his own drug network for the past three or so years.
He used his Spanish base to liaise directly with international gangs, and then arranged shipments of drugs to Ireland, either overland in r trucks or on sea drops off the western coast. His Dublin connections were mainly in the Cabra and north inner city areas.
- Cormac Looney and Gerard Couzens

Friday, 23 January 2009

Gardai order extra armed patrols into feud's killing zone

Irish Herald

By Cormac Looney
Friday January 23 2009
ARMED patrols have been increased in the Dublin's north inner city after officers foiled the latest hit in the bloody Sheriff Street feud.
Two men remained in custody today after their arrest near the Clonshaugh home of Dean Russell (39), whose younger brother Anthony was shot dead in a pub in Artane last April.
Gardai believe that taxi driver Russell was the intended target of two men arrested in possession of a loaded Magnum pistol at Riverside Park in Clonshaugh last Wednesday evening.
Unarmed gardai detained the men after a call that the pair were acting suspiciously in a parked car close to Russell's home at 10.20pm last week. They broke the windows of the stolen Audi A5 and detained one of the men as he reached for the gun. The second man was arrested at a house nearby.
The officers may be decorated for their bravery, sources say, adding that the father-of-three, who has ten previous convictions for assault, possession of drugs and being accessory to an armed robbery was minutes away from being attacked. The arrested men are believed to be linked to a group from the north inner city suspected of involvement in the murder of Anthony Russell (30) in the Ardlea Inn pub on April 18, 2008.
That attack was linked to an ongoing feud, which developed after armed robber Christopher Griffin was charged with sxually assaulting a young woman. He was later convicted and is serving a life sentence.
As Griffin's gang splintered tit for tat attacks occurred, which led to the murder of Gerard "Batt" Byrne (26) in the IFSC on December 13, 2006. Anthony Russell was suspected of involvement in that murder.
The Byrne murder was followed by the killing of Stephen Ledden (28), who was shot dead two weeks later, at Oriel Street, in an apparent retaliation for the Byrne murder. This was followed last April by the murder of Anthony Russell in Artane.
Since then, there has been a fall-off in feud-related incidents, mainly due to garda action.
A source said today: "We've had a constant presence in the wider Sheriff Street area for over two years and extra patrols have been sent there since the Clonshaugh incident, to prevent any further violence. The intended target in Clonshaugh was very lucky. There's no doubt that the guards saved his life."
The arrested men are 18 and 22. One was questioned about the murder of Gavin McCarthy on Sheriff Street last October. That killing was not directly related to the feud.

Thursday, 22 January 2009

Hero gardai foil gang hit

Irish Herald

By Cormac Looney and Alan O'Keeffe
Thursday January 22 2009
UNARMED gardai smashed their way into an assassin’s car last night, snatching the gun and foiling another murder.
The valiant uniformed officers took on the hitmen when their patrol car was rammed by the stolen vehicle in Clonshaugh.
In another night of violence, shots were also fired at a family home in Cabra, in an unrelated attack.
As the capital’s drug gangs continued to implode, Justice Minister Dermot Ahern was under growing criticism as rank and file officers complained that overtime cutbacks were curtailing armed patrols.
Seasoned murder investigators were also being tied up for weeks on end probing public service media leaks.
In the Clonshaugh incident, a loaded revolver was found in the men’s car, along with petrol to destroy the stolen Audi A5 after a shooting.
“They were tooled up and ready to go. We’ve no doubt that these men were on their way to shoot someone,” a source told the Herald.
Spokesman Sgt Gerry Curley said: “The garda driver managed to block this car and both gardaĆ­ got out of the patrol car and smashed the driver and passenger windows of the Audi.
“At this stage they saw a firearm inside the car.
“They tackled the occupants and arrested an 18-year-old male,” the sergeant added.
“As the other occupant was tackled he managed to break free and he fled into a back garden close to the scene. He had been wearing a balaclava that was removed in the struggle.
“At this stage additional garda personnel from Coolock and the local Crime Task Force (both uniformed and plain clothes) arrived at the scene and the area was cordoned off.”
The other occupant, a 22-year-old man, was captured some time later after breaking into a nearby occupied house.
The fully loaded revolver was today being examined to see if it had been used in previous shootings.
The two hitmen were being quizzed in Coolock Station.
The Audi sports car had been stolen earlier in Foxrock, south Dublin.
Senior officers said the patrol car crew had undoubtedly foiled what would have been the fifth gang murder of the year so far.
Officers have yet to identify the target of the planned attack, but it may not be related to two gangland murders earlier this week, in Tallaght and Finglas.
“These two guys were north inner city, and they are known to us.
“There’s a number of separate feuds simmering in the Coolock, Ballymun and Baldoyle areas and we’re looking into all those disputes in light of last night’s arrests,” a source said.
“Fair play to the unis (uniformed officers) involved. These are the guys dealing with these criminals on the frontline, and they deserve recognition.
“Too often it’s the ‘laptop guards’ behind their desks who get all the praise.”
Later at 12.45am a gunman fired two shots at a house in Saint Attracta’s Road, in Cabra. A man and a couple in the house, all innocent, were unharmed.
Gardai rushed to the scene and two 18-year-olds were arrested nearby, at a crashed silver Nissan on Broombridge Road.
It is believed that the gunmen may have opened fire at the wrong house.
Local Councillor Mary Fitzpatrick described the attack as “horrendous”.
Separately, officers in Finglas discovered guns and drugs as part of their investigations into the death of Graham McNally, shot dead in Finglas earlier this week.
The pistol and revolver were found with €80,000 worth of heroin on open ground close to McKelvey Avenue.
McNally was shot dead four hours after he stepped off a flight from Amsterdam, and gardai believe he was lured to his death by other criminals known to him.
The weapons recovered at not believed to be used in the McNally killing.
Sources said they were “keeping an open mind” on whether key members of McNally’s own gang murdered him, or whether associates of a rival criminal, Paul ‘Farmer’ Martin, were behind the hit.
McNally was suspected of supplying the firearm used in ‘Farmer’ Martin’s murder, in Finglas, five months ago.
Armed patrols have been stepped up in Finglas as the area’s biggest crime gang is on the brink of imploding in the wake of the latest murder.
Meanwhile, officers investigating the double murder of Michael ‘Rolley’ Cronin and his driver James Moloney, have released a man in his 50s, who was being held on suspicion of withholding information.
- Cormac Looney and Alan O'Keeffe