Gardai fear drug gangs set for new turf war
By JIM CUSACK
Sunday February 22 2009
Gardai in Dublin were working last night to head off an all-out gang war which was sparked by the murder on Wednesday of Johnny 'Champagne' Carroll, one of the city's top drug dealers.
Eight men and three women were being questioned by detectives in five separate stations around the city centre yesterday evening and arrests are expected.
The republican splinter group, the Irish National Liberation Army, is at the centre of the threatened war and its members are believed responsible for murdering Carroll, 33, in Grumpy Jack's pub in the Coombe.
The gang suspected of carrying out the murder is headed by the INLA leader in Dublin, a man aged in his 30s who currently lives in Finglas, and his close associate, a major Dublin criminal figure who has been involved in drug smuggling since the Eighties.
Carroll was killed because the gang wished to take over his drug-dealing turf on the north side of the city.
Last night, gardai were on high alert as Carroll's associates, who include some of the most violent criminals in the south inner city, were swearing to avenge his murder.
- JIM CUSACK
Friday, 20 February 2009
By Charlie Mallon and Cormac Looney
Friday February 20 2009
GARDAI believe ‘Champagne’ Johnny Carroll was murdered after he had an affair with the girlfriend of an INLA man.
The 33 year old drug dealer, who was gunned down in a contract killing on Wednesday night, is believed to have been targeted on the orders of the jealous partner of the woman.
The man was said to be so incensed when he heard of his partner’s infidelities that he ordered the assassination of Carroll.
The chief suspects for the shooting are fringe members of the Dublin brigade of the INLA, and the hitman involved was behind another shooting in the Tallaght area 18 months ago, gardai believe.
Officers are today hunting the gunman, as they prepare to swoop on members of hardline Republican group. A source said: “Initially we believed this was over drug dealing, but it now looks to be an old fashioned one - a murder over a woman.”
“The word is Champagne Johnny was suspected of having an affair with the partner of a longtime INLA member. This man supposedly went mad when he heard about it and decided to kill Carroll in revenge," the source added.
“He wouldn’t be the most senior in the INLA but he’d have a fair amount of pull. The suspects are on the fringes of that group.
“The suspected gunman in the attack is known to us, and we believe he carried out a shooting in Tallaght back in 2007,” the source said.
It also emerged today that Carroll spent the hours before his death socialising in another bar in the South Circular Road area.
Gardai believe that the men who murdered Carroll were monitoring him as he drank in the bar, and were notified when he left the premises around an hour before his death, to |travel to Grumpy Jacks |bar in the Coombe.
Officers are now trying to trace everyone who was in the South Circular Road pub, amid suspicions that Carroll’s killers may have had people sitting in the bar, or parked outside, watching him, who then made a phone call to their associates.
Their target travelled from the South Circular Road to the Coombe, where he socialised with two friends, one of whom is a regular in Grumpy Jacks and lives close to the pub.
Gardai believe that the gang watched him enter the bar and may have sent in an associate to pinpoint where he was sitting in the pub.
Minutes later, a man wearing a motorcycle helmet and a balaclava walked into the premises and fired a number of shots at Carroll, fatally wounding him.
He died at St James’s Hospital less than two hours later.
Gardai are now examining contacts Carroll had with criminals in the days before his death. They will also speak to the two pals who were with him in the bar as he was shot. They are not suspected of any involvement in the murder plot.
One of these is a 25-year-old man from the Coombe. The second man, of Italian descent, lives in the Crumlin area but regularly socialises in the Coombe.
Despite having no convictions, married father of three Carroll was involved with a Coolock drugs gang.
One of his Coolock associates arrived at St James’s Hospital minutes before Carroll died, in a distressed state.
Carroll had been targeted by officers from Kevin Street, and the Garda National Drugs Unit, over his suspected role in importing heroin to Ireland in horse boxes. According to local sources, he earned his nickname ‘Champagne’ because of the high quality of cocaine he supplied to users.
- Charlie Mallon and Cormac Looney
Thursday, 19 February 2009
By Cormac Looney and Charlie Mallon
Thursday February 19 2009
Dublin's gangland is braced for further bloodshed after the murder of a major drug dealer in a city pub.
‘Champagne’ Johnny Carroll (33) was gunned down as he drank in Grumpy Jack’s pub in the Coombe at 9.35pm last night. He was hit by up to six rounds from a 9mm handgun by a masked gunman who strolled into the bar and singled him out.
The victim, from Ffrench Mullen flats, Charlemont Street area of the south inner city, was a leading figure in a Coolock and Baldoyle based criminal gang suspected of importing large amounts of heroin into the country in horse boxes from the UK.
Gardai believe that his killing, in full view of other drinkers, could be linked to a dispute between the gang and the Dublin unit of the INLA over drug money.
The INLA’s Dublin unit it is widely suspected of extorting money from drug dealers, and members have clashed with criminal gangs in the city in the past.
But officers also examining any links between the killing and any recent drug seizures, which may have been overseen by Carroll, and which may have led to the loss of a significant amount of drugs and cash.
A source said: “It’s early days but the motive was definitely drugs related. Carroll was very active in the Baldoyle and Coolock area on the Northside and we’ll be looking at any conflicts he had with INLA figures in that part of the city.”
The murder was the sixth gangland killing this year.
Carroll was initially hit in the stomach and backside with a single round, and tried to stumble for his life from the bar, before the killer fired five more rounds at him.
Two of his terrified pals, both in their 30s, dived for cover as Carroll was gunned down. His killer, wearing a balaclava, then walked from the bar, as Carroll lay fatally injured on the floor at the rear of the pub.
Gardai say that the killer may have made his escape, with the help of an accomplice, on a black motorcycle, along Dean Street.
Local officers from Kevin Street were on the scene in less than a minute, and Carroll was rushed to St James’s Hospital to undergo emergency surgery. He died at 11.30pm, despite medics’ best efforts to save him.
The chief of detectives in the south inner city, Det Supt PJ Browne, said tonight: “This was a discriminate and deliberate shooting, which put the lives of innocent people at great risk.
“We need to speak to anyone who was in the Park Terrace area from 9pm onwards. They can contact our team in complete confidence.”
Anyone with information is asked to contact officers on 01 666 9400, or the garda confidential line on 1800 666 111.
Carroll was known to gardai, and was a focus of attention for local detective units at Kevin Street, along the Garda National Drugs Unit, under Operation Abalone.
Gardai suspect he was involved in the supply of drugs to areas of the north city, importing heroin in horse boxes from the UK. He is believed to have worked with a number of gangs, mostly on the Northside.
He had come under major garda pressure in recent months as officers moved in on his alleged operation, but he did not have previous convictions.
Grumpy Jack’s has been the scene of violence in the past, and a high profile incident outside the bar almost two years ago saw members of the INLA involved in a street fight with local criminals.
That row, in June 2007, led to a number of tit-for-tat attacks between the INLA unit and a Southside gang.
- Cormac Looney and Charlie Mallon
Saturday, 14 February 2009
Saturday February 14 2009
Two of the arrested men are from Crumlin, and are regarded as close associates of city criminal Freddie Thompson, who is involved in a gangland feud with another gang based in the south city.
The other three men arrested in the incident on Wednesday night are known to gardai and are from Cabra on the city's northside.
All five men were released from custody last night with files being prepared for the Director of Public prosecutions.
Officers believe that the planned attack may be related to a smaller local feud
that members of Thompson's gang are involved in.
The arrests were carried out in a planned operation by members of the Organised Crime Unit, who were watching the men after they noticed them acting suspiciously in cars.
The men were initially detained for questioning at Kilmainham, Kevin Street, Terenure and Crumlin stations.
Garda technical teams were examining the Glock handgun and the car found at Mount Shannon Road.
"This crowd were minutes away from a gangland hit when we intercepted them," a source told the Herald.
"The two Crumlin men are well known to us for their involvement with the Thompson gang, and as soon as we saw them we pulled them over.
"At the same time another one of our units spotted the other three men in a car and immediately pulled them over.
"We then established that the men were en route to Mount Shannon Road, and we discovered the suspicious vehicle parked there the following morning.
"The car was plated up and a Glock handgun with a full 13 round magazine was hidden in the vehicle.
"The scenes of the arrests, at Pimlico and Mount Brown, in front of St James' Hospital, were very close to where the car was at Mount Shannon. They were minutes away.
"The Crumlin pair are known to us but it was unusual to see the three others from the Northside involved.
"We don't have a definite target for the hit but as well as the major feud, these men are involved in a number of smaller disagreements with other criminals around the south inner city.
"From the location of the car we believe that's where the hit was due to take place," the source added.
Garda investigations into the incident are ongoing, and more arrests may occur.
Wednesday, 11 February 2009
By Cormac Looney
Wednesday February 11 2009
THE latest victim of Dublin's gangland was quizzed before his death over a pal's murder.
Detectives detained Michael Hendrick (36) on suspicion of withholding information on the murder of Chris- topher 'Git' McDonagh, who was shot dead in Ronanstown.
McDonagh, a one-time drug dealer who had tried to distance himself from organised crime, was shot dead in his garden after leaping from a second floor window to escape.
Gardai believe McDonagh (27) was a victim of a feud in a Clondalkin drugs gang, which has claimed a number of lives.
Hendrick was a fringe member of the same outfit and was arrested by detectives shortly after McDonagh's murder, questioned and released without charge. He was an associate of McDonagh in the past.
Gardai do not believe that Hendrick had a direct involvement in McDonagh's killing, but suspected he had information in relation to the men who carried it out.
One officer said: "Hendrick was small fry, a recovering addict who was trying to make ends meet. He was far from a Mr Big. But he had associated with major criminals and those connections are hard to break."
A definite motive for Mr Hendrick's murder has not been established, but gardai are examining links with the McDonagh killing, and the gang feud.
It is believed that the victim travelled from his home in Clonee to his former patch in Clondalkin on Monday night to meet with an associate, and that he was shot shortly after arriving by a gunman using a .22 automatic pistol.
The killer cycled away from the scene, at Melrose Park, across Cuthbert Park in the direction of Bawnogue.
A number of Mr Hendrick's pals have died as a result of an internal row in a Clondalkin gang, which has claimed the lives of Richie McCormack (29), who was shot dead last March, and Eoin McCarthy (22), who was shot dead in October 2005.
Mr Hendrick was also a pal of Karl Breen, the 'Moet Killer', who is serving a sentence for stabbing a pal after a champagne party at a Dublin hotel.
Mr Hendrick's partner, Ellen Doyle, insisted that the father-of-three was "set up" and denied some reports that he was a "drug lord".
"We have nothing. He wasn't a drug dealer. He was set up. He was told to go over and meet a person and he went over and he got shot," she added.
Gardai will today interview Ms Doyle and a man who was with Mr Hendrick when he got shot, who is not involved in crime and had no knowledge of the attempt on Mr Hendricks' life. He was not injured in the incident, but is reportedly deeply traumatised.
- Cormac Looney
Monday, 2 February 2009
By Cormac Looney
Monday February 02 2009
UNDERWORLD killer 'Cotton Eye' Joe Delaney is in serious condition in hospital after being admitted with chest problems.
Delaney (61) is in the intensive care unit at Portlaoise General Hospital, Co Laois, after being brought there for emergency treatment last week. He is understood to have angina, and has received treatment for blood clotting.
Delaney is serving a life sentence for killing fellow criminal Mark Dwyer, who was abducted and murdered in 1996. The successful case against 'Cotton Eye' is regarded as Ireland's first gangland murder conviction.
The gangster, from Naas, Co Kildare, abducted and tortured Dwyer after 40,000 ecstasy tablets belonging to Delaney's gang went missing. Dwyer's body was found dumped in a field at Scribblestown Lane in Finglas.
Delaney's latest health scare is the third time he has been admitted to the emergency ward. He was rushed to hospital in 2006 with chest pains, and suffered a heart attack while being held at Midlands Prison, in Portaloise, in 2004.
Medical staff have stabilised Delaney and the criminal may be transferred to a Dublin hospital in the coming days for further treatment. He was admitted to hospital in Portlaoise last Saturday, after complaining of feeling unwell, in his cell. His condition is currently listed as serious. Gardai have mounted a round-the-clock security operation to guard Delaney, who has been subjected to threats, despite being in custody.
In 2004, he was moved from Midlands Prison to Wheatfield in Dublin after he tried to slash another inmate in a drugs row. He was then put under a 24-hour guard after warders discovered a plot to assassinate him.
Delaney is the second high-profile prisoner to suffer from health problems in recent weeks. Geoffrey Evans, who murdered two young woman with an associate in the 1970s, remains in the intensive care unit at the Mater Hospital, Dublin, after suffering complications during heart bypass surgery on December 18 last.
He is likely to remain in the ICU for the foreseeable future, sources say.