Friday, 29 May 2009

Revenge fears as Fat Freddie gangsters torch woman's car

Irish Herald

By Cormac Looney
Friday May 29 2009
GARDAI are on alert in south Dublin after the latest attack in the Crumlin gang feud.
Officers fear further violence in the coming days after two men were caught torching a car in the capital.
According to sources, the pair are associates of underworld boss 'Fat' Freddie Thompson (28), who heads a gang involved in a long-running local dispute with a rival outfit.
Gardai on mobile patrol in the area spotted the men acting suspiciously close to a vehicle. When they investigated it was discovered that the car was ablaze.
The vehicle belongs to a woman who is in no way involved in crime. She was singled out because of a personal connection to a local man, gardai believe.
The two men then sped from the scene and were pursued by gardai. When they abandoned their car, officers arrested one of the men.
The second man remains at large and is being sought by gardai today.
The woman's car was badly damaged in the incident, officers said.
Gardai believe that the attack is the latest incident in the Crumlin-Drimnagh feud, a violent dispute between two gangs which is linked to the control of drug dealing across the south city.
The feud has been exacerbated by the tit-for-tat murders of a number of gang members over the past eight years.
Violence in the feud has been lowered over the past six months after a truce was brokered between two families on either side.
But despite this, there has been feud-related attacks, including the murder of Shay Bradley, shot dead in Tallaght on March 13 last.
His death was the 14th associated with the feud.
While serious attacks have lessened in the wake of the truce, there have been a number of ongoing attacks on property carried out by associates of the two gangs.
Last January an innocent woman had a pipe bomb placed under her car at Stanaway Road in Crumlin.
Gardai are still investigating that incident, and they believe the car in question may have belonged to an associate of Freddie Thompson's girlfriend.
- Cormac Looney

Sunday, 17 May 2009

Cab goes after 'white collar' criminal helpers

Sunday Tribune

Rogue solicitors and other professionals who act for criminals are being targeted by the bureau
Ali Bracken, Crime Correspondent
John Gilligan (centre): one of the first high-profile criminals to have assets confiscated by Cab The Criminal Assets Bureau (Cab) has launched an unprecedented investigation into a group of solicitors, accountants and mortgage brokers, the Sunday Tribune can reveal.
Cab is probing 'white collar' involvement in criminality and believes that the group of rogue professionals has been deliberately helping criminals hide their assets and buy property from the proceeds of crime.
"In the course of our investigations into criminals, the same names of solicitors, accountants and mortgage brokers kept coming up as assisting them – helping them wash their money essentially. Some professionals have been doing it unwittingly but a small group of them knew exactly what they were doing. We are targeting them at the moment in a new investigation," said a senior garda source.
In a separate investigation, the bureau is preparing to seize the assets of up to 20 Irish criminals living in the so-called 'Costa Del Crime' area of Spain.
Cab has been liaising with the Spanish authorities and is preparing to seize several properties, luxury cars and even a yacht.
"There's been a huge effort in recent months on targeting Irish criminals in Spain. There'll be movement on that very shortly. One item we're looking to seize is a luxury yacht," the garda added.
In 2007, Cab began to target middle-ranking criminals along with multimillionaire criminals.
At present, Martin 'The Viper' Foley is being investigated as is Crumlin crime figure 'Fat' Freddie Thompson. A major drug-dealer from Finglas, known as 'Mr Big', is also being closely scrutinised by Cab. "We expect to hit Martin Foley with a significant revenue bill soon,"said the garda.
A tactic among middle-ranking criminals to prevent gardaĆ­ seizing their money is to carry thousands of euro on their person.
"It's amazing, you wouldn't believe it. A lot of them don't know what to do with it so they carry it in rucksacks in their cars. Every other day we have seizures of this kind. Customs officers have had a lot of success catching guys coming in and out of the ports and the airports with huge amounts of money, up to €40,000 in some cases," he said.
Bulgaria and Spain are the two most popular destinations for criminals to buy overseas property.
"Spain has always been a popular choice for Irish criminals. Bulgaria is a new development and we've a number of on-going cases involving property there."
The garda explained that many other middle-ranking criminals, who would be well known in the media, actually have very few assets.
"This new breed of criminal is not like the John Gilligans of this world. Many of them aren't building up extensive property portfolios. They are spending their money as soon as they get it. They buy a fancy car and that's about it, so we often seize them. They live in the moment, spending a lot and carrying their money around with them. But they are more ruthless and violent."
Cab currently has 300 active cases. The bureau seized almost €10m in assets from criminals in 2007 and its 2008 and 2009 figures are expected to far exceed that.
In addition to asset seizure, it made a €19m tax demand in 2007 and collected €10m which was handed to the state. A further €551,000 was made in social welfare savings.
At the moment, crime gangs in Limerick, Crumlin and Drimnagh are getting particular attention from Cab. "Limerick has always kept us busy and never more so than at the moment. We've taken a lot of bullet-proof cars and expensive jewellery so far this year. We've had a lot of success in taking criminals off social welfare, job seekers allowance and sometimes even their girlfriends' single-parent allowance. We also have a number of investigations into members of the travelling community involved in crime."
The bureau has more than 110 profilers, including some Revenue and Customs officials, studying the assets of criminals around the country. The profilers supply information to the bureau's head office in Dublin with a view to beginning High Court assets' confiscations proceedings.
Established in the aftermath of the murder of journalist Veronica Guerin, Cab has successfully confiscated the assets of many of the country's most powerful criminals.
May 17, 2009

Tuesday, 12 May 2009

Gangland bosses now face life sentences in tough crackdown

Gangland bosses now face life sentences in tough crackdown

By Tom Brady Security Editor

Tuesday May 12 2009

CRIME bosses face life imprisonment if they are found guilty of directing the activities of an organised gang.

And their associates will be put behind bars for up to 15 years for participating in a recognised crime gang.

The tough measures are part of a package to be placed before the Cabinet today in an unprecedented legislative crackdown by the State on serious crime.

The measures mean the thugs will find it more difficult to secure bail after they have been charged, face longer jail sentences after they have been convicted, and face curbs on their movements after they have been released.

The package contains the toughest response from the State since the draconian legislation introduced to combat dissident republician terrorists in the wake of the Omagh bomb atrocity 11 years ago.

And it signals that the Government views the threat posed by the organised gangs, particularly in Limerick and Dublin, to be the gravest to the security of the country since the subversives were tackled.

Some of the legislation being proposed by Justice Minister Dermot Ahern to his Government colleagues today is based on the Offences Against the State (Amendment) Act 1998.

This was introduced after the Omagh bomb blast, which killed 29 people, in August 1998 and it allows the Special Criminal Court to sentence anyone found guilty of directing a terrorist organisation to life imprisonment.

The leader of the Real IRA, Michael McKevitt, was subsequently sentenced to 20 years' imprisonment.

The crimes covered in the new Criminal Justice (Amendment) Bill will become scheduled offences, which means the High Court can then impose tighter restrictions on the right to bail.

All charges under the proposed legislation will be dealt with by the Special Criminal Court, unless the DPP directs otherwise. Mr Ahern and Attorney General Paul Gallagher believe that they have surmounted the legal obstacles, which prevented Governments in the past from introducing a charge of membership of a criminal gang.


It is now proposed to introduce a new offence of involvement in criminal activity in association with known members of a recognised criminal gang.

A garda chief superintendent will be able to express his opinion in the Special Criminal Court that an accused is a member of a specific gang but this must be corroborated by other evidence.

It is intended that much of the corroborative evidence will be gathered through surveillance measures, which can be used in court if the Bill is passed.

At present, the gardai can carry out covert and overt surveillance but they are unable to produce the results in court.

The jail sentence for intimidating witnesses or jurors is also expected to be increased from the existing 10 years as a result of garda evidence indicating a big rise in the number of cases of intimidation.

It is already accepted that the witness security programme is of limited use as many witnesses are reluctant to relocate and it is very difficult to maintain their anonymity in a small country.

The measures have been under review since the murder of rugby player Shane Geoghegan in Limerick in November and were signalled by Mr Ahern last month after the fatal shooting of another innocent Limerick citizen, Roy Collins.

Thousands took to the streets of Limerick at the weekend in a show of support for the families of the innocent victims and to back up calls for tougher action from the Government.

Garda Commissioner Fachtna Murphy has described the proposed measures as an appropriate response to the activities of the organised crime gangs.

However, legal opinion is expected to be divided along the lines adopted in the wake of the Omagh legislation.

- Tom Brady Security Editor

Saturday, 9 May 2009

Clarke is third gang member blasted to death in city gun war

Irish Herald

By Cormac Looney
Saturday May 09 2009
DRUG dealer BJ Clarke is the third member of a north Dublin criminal gang to be assassinated by former associates, Garda sources have revealed.
The 21-year-old was gunned down after being targeted in an Artane underground car park last Wednesday.
Clarke's brutal death -- the assassin emptied his Glock's magazine into his car -- came six weeks after a former associate, David 'Fred' Lynch, was murdered in Coolock.
Gardai have linked a third murder to the in-fighting which broke out in Clarke's gang three years ago, and continues still.
The gangland death of Ger Goulding (24) has now been connected to feuding in the Coolock gang, which came to power in the last five years as chief suppliers of heroin and cocaine to north Dublin.
Goulding, a junior member of the outfit, was shot dead over a small drug debt in April 2006 in Donaghmede after a man, believed to be an associate, arranged a late-night meeting.
Gardai believe David 'Fred' Lynch, who was a leading member of the gang at the time, was involved in this murder but did not have the evidence to prosecute him for the crime.
Goulding had left his girlfriend in the north inner city and travelled to a green on a housing estate in Donaghmede where he was blasted to death. The crime remains unsolved.
The killing now appears to have been the first death in an internecine power struggle within the gang, which is based in Darndale and deals drugs mainly in the Coolock and Darndale areas of the city.
It was followed by a number of violent incidents, including gun attacks and assaults in the following three years. The next killing took place last April, when David 'Fred' Lynch (26) was gunned down at Belcamp Lane in Coolock, two days after John 'BJ' Clarke was shot by associates of Lynch in Coolock. On this occasion, he survived.
A source told the Herald: "What's coming to pass among this crew started three years ago, and has been simmering ever since. A lot of ex pals are demanding money off each other and threatening each other.
"Our information suggests that Fred Lynch was involved in the Goulding murder, and that BJ Clarke in turn was involved in the Lynch killing.
"The fact that both Lynch and Goulding were lured to their death, and went unarmed, indicates that they were most likely double crossed by people they knew."
Investigations are continuing today into the BJ Clarke murder. He was shot dead at the Brookwood Abbey complex in Artane at 3am last Wednesday.
- Cormac Looney

Friday, 8 May 2009

Victim of gangland shooting warned his life was in danger

Victim of gangland shooting warned his life was in danger

By Tom Brady and Shane Phelan

Friday May 08 2009

A man, shot dead in a hail of bullets at his apartment block in north Dublin early yesterday, had been warned by gardai earlier this year that his life was in danger.

It was the second time that he had been the victim of a gun attack in six weeks.

The dead man was named last night as John Clarke (21), of Brookwood Abbey, Brookwood Grove, near Gracefield Avenue in Artane.

He was shot several times in the chest as the gunman fired an estimated 15 shots into his car while Clarke drove into the underground car park at the apartment complex around 3am.

His friends, Glen Larkin and Michael McCabe, were also hit as they sat in the car with Clarke but were not seriously injured.

One was struck in the hand and the other in the neck and were being treated last night at Beaumont Hospital.


In 1995 Clarke's father, John Clarke senior, was jailed for six years after he pleaded guilty to the manslaughter of Glen Larkin senior, father of the youth who was injured in yesterday's attack.

The two sons later became firm friends.

Gardai are satisfied that Clarke was murdered as a result of a row with others involved in the drugs trade in north Dublin.

But they admitted they were checking on a wide range of theories to establish a motive and pinpoint a chief suspect for the shooting.

Detectives think the gunman and an accomplice were probably waiting inside the car park to ambush Clarke rather than following him home.

Clarke had been out with his two friends watching the Champions League tie between Chelsea and Barcelona on TV on Wednesday night. The gunman struck as the group arrived in the car park in their 7 series BMW car.

Gardai have established that the security barrier at the entrance to the car park had been damaged about a week earlier and this made it easier for the killer to gain access.

Detectives believe the gunman used a 9mm semi-automatic pistol, such as a Glock, and emptied a clip as he riddled the car with bullets.

The getaway car, a silver 5-series northern registered BMW, was found burnt out in a laneway, off Mount Prospect Drive in Clontarf. Gardai were making checks last night to establish if the BMW had been stolen as local officers and members of the national bureau of criminal investigation held a case conference at Coolock station.

Supt Mark Curran appealed to members of the public, who either live near Mount Prospect Drive or the apartment block, or who might have passed by either of the two locations after 2am yesterday, to come forward if they noticed anything suspicious.

Gardai said that, despite his young age, Clarke had built up a long list of enemies. One of the theories being checked out was whether the Clarke murder was linked to the fatal shooting of David Lynch in Coolock in March.

The night before that attack Clarke had been shot in the leg during an incident involving members of the gangs involved in a long-running drugs feud in Coolock.

Lynch was suspected of being involved in Clarke's shooting.

Clarke lived with his partner and a six-month-old baby in the Artane apartment block. He had appeared in court over 40 times and had a number of minor convictions.

His last appearance in court was on Wednesday. He was fined €200 at Dublin District Court for unlawful possession of drugs in Swords, Co Dublin, on January 18, 2008.

- Tom Brady and Shane Phelan

Drug dealer 'gunned down in gangland revenge attack'

Irish Herald

By Cormac Looney
Friday May 08 2009
GARDAI believe drug dealer BJ Clarke was murdered in a tit-for-tat killing as part of a north Dublin feud that is spiralling out of control.
Sources said it was thought that the assassination of Clarke, and the attempted murder of two friends at an Artane apartment complex yesterday, was carried out by associates of David 'Fred' Lynch, a Darndale criminal was lured to on waste ground at Belcamp Lane, and shot dead six weeks ago.
Officers believe that the murders represent the implosion of a criminal gang that had supplied heroin and cocaine in Coolock, Darndale and Baldoyle in recent years.
At least two other attacks linked to the feud were carried out last year.
John 'BJ' Clarke was hit seven times in the chest when a gunman fired 13 shots at his BMW as it drove into the underground car park of the Brookwood Abbey apartment complex, in Artane at 3am yesterday.
The gunman emptied a full magazine from a Glock 9mm handgun at the car.
Clarke's girlfriend lived in the block, and he was returning there with two friends after watching the Chelsea-Barcelona Champions League game.
The 21-year-old victim, from Beauvale Park in Artane, was known to gardai as the chief enforcer for a criminal gang based in Darndale.
The two men who were with Clarke when he was shot are recovering from their injuries.
Michael McCabe was shot in the hand and drove his dying pal to Beaumont Hospital. He told paramedics that a third man, Glen Larkin, was lying injured on Gracefield Avenue.
Gardai believe that the killers broke the apartment gates last week, allowing them to easily access the apartment block. CCTV from the car park is being examined.
The murder is the 12th gangland killing of 2009.