Gun crime down 75pc after gang crackdown
By Barry Duggan
Saturday October 31 2009
THE intense garda crackdown on Limerick's criminal gangs has resulted in a decrease in gun crime in the city by almost 75pc from record high levels of two years ago.
In 2007, gardai in Limerick investigated 104 incidents of illegal discharge of firearms in the city. To date, there have only been 27 recorded incidents this year.
Speaking at a meeting of Limerick's Joint Policing Committee, Chief Supt Gerry Mahon said the gun crime figures in 2007 were an "all-time high".
The garda revelations come in a week where a 27-year-old man was left fighting for his life after he was shot in Southill on Wednesday morning and a pipe bomb was discovered in St Mary's Park. Two people have been charged in connection with these incidents.
Separately, a shotgun was fired in Shanabooley Road, Ballynanty, on the northside of the city on Thursday night. Nobody was injured.
Despite the recent events in Limerick, Chief Supt Mahon said officers were continuing to make progress in their campaign against crime and feuding gangs.
He said the armed Regional Response Unit had been maintaining an active presence on the streets and while the "level of threat increases and abates" the battle went on every day.
Following the murders of Shane Geoghegan last November and Roy Collins in April, Limerick's criminal gangs have come under intense scrutiny from the gardai.
In recent months, all senior members of the notorious McCarthy-Dundon gang have been convicted and jailed for various offences.
Some of our major gangland figures are in custody at the moment," Chief Supt Mahon said. "In fact some of the most active ones are in prison, but that doesn't mean this is something that you can rest on; this is a battle that goes on every day," he added.
The meeting also heard that there is a number of Criminal Assets Bureau profilers based in Limerick who are in contact with their counterparts in Dublin on a daily basis.
In recent weeks, several senior gardai who were involved in major successful investigations against the city's gangs have retired from the force.
Labour TD Jan O'Sullivan raised concerns with Limerick's senior garda officer that the progress made by the force would be undermined by the retirements.
But Chief Supt Mahon said there were officers filling any void left vacant.
"I can assure the city that we have people of equal calibre and knowledge -- especially knowledge of the city and the criminal elements at work -- ready, willing, and able to take their places," he said.
Chief Supt Mahon said the number of gardai based in Limerick was greater than ever and that the 100 extra gardai assigned as a result of the issues were "intact and out there".
He added that Gda Commissioner Fachtna Murphy was committed to maintaining garda numbers in Limerick.
- Barry Duggan
Saturday, 31 October 2009
By Jane Last
Saturday October 31 2009
DRUG dealers have threatened to kill a 16-year-old boy in West Dublin over a modest debt.
In recent weeks, a number of associates from the criminal underworld have called to the teenager's family home demanding money, or he will die.
Sources close to his terrified family are saying they are now urging the authorities to keep the boy in custody for his own safety.
The West Dublin boy is presently before Dublin Children's Court on a number of charges, and is in custody.
In the last few weeks, a number of men have called to their home on three different occasions demanding money.
One man is understood to have told the boy's mother: "Tell him if I don't get my money, I'm going to kill him, he's dead."
The Herald understands that the same threat has been intimated to other associates of the boy's family in recent weeks.
It is understood the boy was either selling drugs or dealing them -- but they were relatively small amounts. It is believed the debt he owes them ranges between several hundred and a thousand euro.
He is currently up on a number of physical assault charges before Dublin's Children's Court -- and was remanded in custody recently.
A source close to the teenager's family say they fear for his life. "He has been through every social worker, all pyschiatrists and psychologists, youth groups, meetings and mental assessments.
"But since he was 14, it has been non-stop. They have been told that he was a child and he was innocent, there was nothing the authorities could do.
"However, if he comes out again from custody, it's believed he will be killed. It's only a matter of time," the source added.
Earlier this year, it was claimed that crime gangs were using children, often as young 12, as drug and weapon couriers.
Gangs act in the knowledge that the young age of these children will mean they will escape harsh punishment.
Barnardo's warned the situation would only get worse, with proposed cutbacks in education funding leading to more schoolchildren dropping out of school and ending up in a life of crime.
It also called for a more co-ordinated approach to the problem after the unpublished report on children placed in special care and high-support units revealed that not one child from Limerick has been placed into custody for their own protection in the last 18 months.
This is despite concerns among gardai and health workers that underage children are being coerced into working as 'foot-soldiers' for gangs in the region.
In Dublin, the Children's Court has heard evidence of drugs seizure totalling €3.98m in the past year.
This was the combined value of seizures in 25 cases which passed before the court involving children aged between 13 and 17.
The cases involved children from all over the city and were not just confined to areas which have traditionally been blighted by drug dealing.
- Jane Last
Friday, 23 October 2009
Friday October 23 2009
Irish criminal gangs are now getting their drug consignments directly from sources in Colombia and Pakistan, a new report has revealed.
Gardai have already established that as many as nine Irish gangs are operating in continental Europe. While much of the heroin trafficked through Europe is controlled by Turkish gangs, the new report conducted by Europol has revealed that a significant amount of heroin for the Irish and UK markets is sourced directly from Colombia and Pakistan.
The report also assesses international criminal gangs that are active in Ireland. It claims that west African and Nigerian gangs are expanding their activities in Ireland to Europe and now have a role in the final distribution of cocaine and cannabis in Ireland.
The gangs are also exclusively responsible for the trafficking of Nigerian victims for sxual exploitation, while Lithuanian criminal gangs in Ireland are thought to be distributing illegal cigarettes counterfeit goods, and also introducing the drug methamphetamine to the market.
Thursday, 22 October 2009
By Cormac Looney and Charlie Mallon
Thursday October 22 2009
Drug importer John 'The Boxer' Kinsella has received a death threat after beating up the second-in-command of a major Crumlin drugs gang.
The former Irish super heavyweight boxing champion was moved from Cloverhill to Wheatfield Prison earlier this year after he fought with the man behind bars.
Kinsella was attacked by the other man, and delivered a bad beating to the gangster as he defended himself.
The incident, which happened six months ago, led to a security alert and Kinsella was moved from Cloverhill, where he had been held on remand. He was sentenced to 12 years imprisonment for his role in the attempted importation of €7m of heroin and cocaine from Belgium to Ireland in 2006.
Kinsella had been held in custody since he was arrested in September 2006 and had spent almost three years on remand at Cloverhill when he was attacked by the Crumlin gang member.
According to reports, the gangster tried to beat up Kinsella after a row got out of hand, but the former boxer turned on him and beat him up instead.
The gang member is currently before the courts and cannot be named for legal reasons.
He is a feared enforcer for a major Crumlin-based crime gang, who are in a bloody dispute with a rival outfit, led by criminal Freddie Thompson.
The enforcer has survived an attempt on his life in the past as a result of that feud, and has a number of convictions for violent crime. He has also threatened gardai in the past.
The Herald understands that Kinsella was placed in segregation at Wheatfield after the attack, on foot of a death threat from the Crumlin gang, and remained there
He has remained in special segregation since then, amid ongoing fears for his safety in light of the Cloverhill incident.
He was sent back to Cloverhill last week, pending his sentencing hearing last Friday.
Known as the 'The Boxer', Kinsella was a key figure behind a major drug smuggling plot, led by a mysterious character called 'The Auld Fella'.
Dublin Circuit Criminal Court heard evidence of wire-tapped conversations between Kinsella and another man, which referred to this figure as a senior player in the conspiracy.
The plot was to import the drugs haul in passenger luggage on board a private jet, which was to fly to Weston Airport in Co Kildare from Belgium. It was foiled by a major international operation, between gardai, Dutch and Belgian police, which led to Kinsella's arrest.
- Cormac Looney and Charlie Mallon
Wednesday, 21 October 2009
By Cormac Looney and Charlie Mallon
Wednesday October 21 2009
A Dublin gangster found with an Uzi submachinegun was about to use it against members of 'Fat' Freddie Thompson 's crime gang.
The 33-year-old armed himself with the weapon after a recent attack on relatives.
The gunman is a major drug supplier on Dublin's northside and had an association with Crumlin based criminals in Thompson's gang, but reportedly fell out with them earlier this year in a row over drug payments.
Detectives said he was on the verge of using the Uzi take out a member of Thompson's enforcers.
Detectives arrested the man at his Donaghmede apartment, seizing the powerful Uzi -- the same high calibre gun used by the garda's Special Branch -- from a car parked outside.
The man is a currently on bail on drugs charges and is a member of a gang that supplies drugs to the Coolock and Donnycarney areas.
According to sources, he had a "loose alliance" with 'Fat' Freddie's crime gang, who operate in the south inner city.
But this friendship is believed to have turned sour leading to threats being issued on both sides, the sources said.
Gardai feared a serious escalation in the dispute and moved on the man yesterday.
Thompson is currently living between Spain and Birmingham -- where he has family.
He fears returning to Ireland in case he is arrested and charged under new gangland laws.
Thompson uses a gang of enforcers to protect his drugs empire while in exile. But how long he can remain in control is questionable.
The Uzi suspect remains in custody today, as does his partner, in her mid 20s. She was arrested in a raid on a second apartment controlled by the man in Donaghmede.
Gardai believe that the man armed himself following a recent attack on relatives, as well as two other incidents over the past five months.
Sources said that the man, maintains a number of addresses on the city's northside and moves between them on a regular basis.
Yesterday's operation took place at 9.30am when armed gardai kicked in the door of the apartment in Donaghmede.
Inside they found 2.5kgs of drug mixing agent. A search of the man's car, parked outside the apartment, yielded the Uzi, ammunition and 10,000 ecstacy tablets, worth €50,000.
The operation is linked to a major ongoing garda sweep, using covert surveillance to target Dublin gangsters.
Chief among these is the tactic -- similar to the TV show The Wire -- of tapping gangster's mobile phones.
The man is being held at Coolock garda station and the woman at Raheny garda station. They are both being held under the Offenses Against the State Act and can be detained until Friday morning.
The Uzi submachinegun, capable of firing up to 600 rounds a minute, is being technically examined.
- Cormac Looney and Charlie Mallon
By Cormac Looney and Sonya McLean
Wednesday October 21 2009
A former amateur boxing champion and soldier who joined the notorious D22 crime gang has been jailed for four years.
Eric Wainsboro (21) was caught in possession of a 9mm revolver by Ballyfermot gardai.
The one-time fighter was also jailed for two years for assaulting a man at O'Connell Street in a separate incident.
The thug, from Cherry Garth, Rivervalley, Swords, received a concurrent two-year jail term for an attack on a young man on Dublin's O'Connell Street following an altercation between two groups of youths.
Wainsboro pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to possession of the gun on Sarsfield Road, Ballyfermot, and assault causing harm to Graham Weekes on Burgh Quay on dates between May 10, 2007 and August 19, 2008. He had 20 previous convictions.
According to sources, the former soldier is a member of the infamous D22 crime gang, the Clondalkin-based outfit headed by jailed killer Karl Breen.
The group is at the centre of a feud with former associates which has led to a number of shootings and killings, most recently the murder of Pierce Reid last August.
Garda Padraig O'Meara told the Central Criminal Court yesterday that gardai stopped a taxi at Ruby Finnegans Pub, on Sarsfield Road, after receiving confidential information.
Wainsboro, a back seat passenger in the car, was searched and the unloaded revolver was found hidden in his sock along with four rounds of calibre ammunition in his pocket.
Two other people, the second passenger in the car, and a man who later arrived in the pub, were also questioned but were never charged.
Gda O'Meara said that the revolver was a starting gun that had been reconstructed for use as a lethal weapon.
Garda Brendan Wright told Gerardine Small, prosecuting, that he was called to the scene of the assault in May 2007 and found Mr Weekes covered in blood and lying on the ground.
The victim was taken to hospital but discharged the next day. Although Mr Weekes had no recollection of the attack, witnesses gave gardai a good description of the culprits and Wainsboro was later arrested.
John Byrne, defending,said Wainsboro had had promising career in boxing from the time he was 15 to 18 years old.
He competed at a high stage at amateur level and at one time had been the national amateur champion.
He said that Wainsboro started to abuse both alcohol and cocaine while in the Army, but had addressed both problems.
- Cormac Looney and Sonya McLean