Friday, 26 February 2010

Belgian dealer is new city drugs boss, works out of five star hotels

Irish Herald

PLOT: Underworld criminal sets up arms summit in Med
By Cormac Byrne
Friday February 26 2010
A YOUNG Irishman based in Belgium has become the biggest supplier of drugs and credit to Dublin's gangs.
The 25-year-old, who works out of five star hotels in the capital is acting as trafficker Christy Kinahan's eyes and ears here as he serves a prison sentence in mainland Europe.
All of the city's main gangs, including deadly rivals are dealing with the young associate of Kinahan.
Gardai also have intelligence that Kinahan is working closely to end the feuds between the gangs and create one major drugs organisation in Dublin.
Kinahan is the main drug supplier to the 'Fat' Freddie Thompson gang and a revered figure among all members of Ireland's criminal underworld.
Kinahan (53) is currently serving a jail sentence for money laundering in Belgium and as well as running his operations in Dublin, his new commander-in-chief has also been charged with resolving the bloody feuds in the city that are proving "bad for business."
The deputy is a younger associate of Kinahan, who is on first name terms with a dozen or so major criminals, who head drug supply gangs across the city.
Kinahan has convictions for smuggling heroin and ecstasy in Ireland, and he has based in Belgium, Holland and the favourite haunt of Irish gangland figures, the Costa Del Sol, ever since he was released from jail in Ireland.
He arranges massive shipments of guns and drugs from Russian, Turkish and north African cartels into Ireland.
He had served a lengthy prison sentence at Ireland's highest security prison in Portlaoise after being convicted of fraud but has been operating actively for the past decade.
As part of his attempts to heal the rifts in Dublin's underworld, Kinahan reportedly recently arranged an all expenses paid trip to Puerto Banus for Dublin's major crime bosses.
The summit has been arranged to organise a major shipment of drugs and arms for Ireland, sources say.
'Fat' Freddie Thompson is reported to be attending, along with members of Limerick's gangs, as well as Finglas-based crime godfather 'The Don'.
The Mediterranean love-in is Kinahan's latest attempt to cool tensions on the streets of Dublin after he organised a night out for his gangland associates at a boxing bout in Dublin last year.
Crime figures like 'Fat' Freddie and 'The Don' were in attendance along with other leading figures.
"Kinahan's boxing treat was just the start of his charm offensive," a senior Garda source revealed.
"He knows people like The Don have been killing rivals because they're convinced they're going to be wiped out.
"But Kinahan is cute enough to realise more violence on the streets brings more detectives on to the streets which is bad for business.
"He's the main man in Spain, and if he can keep all the gangs sweet with boxing matches and foreign holidays he'll continue to rake in a fortune."
Kinahan is a major target of Europol, based in The Hague, Holland and any meeting between the gang bosses would be monitored closely.
- Cormac Byrne

Friday, 12 February 2010

Detectives quiz gun suspect on murders

Irish Herald

By Charlie Mallon
Friday February 12 2010
A key figure in Dublin's gangland was still being quizzed today about his alleged role in a litany of murders in the city.
He is reported to have been the trigger man in at least four fatal shootings, the most recent being that of David Thomas in October 2009.
Detectives believe this murder was a revenge killing for that of a Finglas man more than 10 years ago.
But the suspected gunman, in his 20s, is also an "enforcer" in the west Dublin gang, established by a new crime boss after the murder of gang leader 'Marlo' Hyland in December 2006.
He is being held at Finglas Garda Station.
This gang has been involved in a rash of killings, mainly in the west of the city and involving perceived rivals, informers and with drug debtors.
The main focus of the questioning of the suspect being held at Finglas is the murder on October 9 last year of 43-year- old David Thomas.
He was shot as he smoked a cigarette outside the Drake Inn pub on Finglas' Main Street.
Thomas was acquitted of murdering another local man, Eamon O'Reilly, who was blasted with a sawn-off shotgun during a row in a pub in Ballymun in January 1998. During his arrest, days later, he fired on and wounded two gardai.
- Charlie Mallon

Sunday, 7 February 2010

The Enforcer

Sunday Tribune

On 13 November 2005, two senior members of the Fat Freddie Thompson gang – Darren Geoghegan and Gavin Byrne – were shot dead in Firhouse in Dublin. The pair were murdered by their own side over a disagreement about where the gang's drugs money was being invested. Gardaí believe that Paddy Doyle, the Thompson mob's feared "enforcer", was responsible for the double murder. Its aftermath is detailed in Cocaine Wars: Fat Freddie Thompson and the Crumlin/Drimnagh Feud by Sunday Tribune security editor Mick McCaffrey
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 Two days after Darren Geoghegan and Gavin Byrne had been shot dead, Noel Roche was preparing for a night out. Roche and his cohorts in the Brian Rattigan gang had spent the previous 48 hours trying to work out what the hell had happened at the housing estate in Firhouse. Two key members of Freddie Thompson's gang lay in a morgue, but Rattigan had absolutely nothing to do with it. It was a mystery, and the only thing the 27-year-old could think was that there was a serious civil war going on within Thompson's mob that would drive them to such lengths they would start killing their own.
There was no point in looking a gift horse in the mouth. Roche was probably more than happy that Thompson's gang number had been reduced by two, and felt sure that the internal strife was not over. He would happily sit back and let Thompson's crew murder each other, but if he got half the chance, he would take them out himself.
Noel Roche's brother John had been dead for less than eight months. He had not avenged his killing and that was probably one of his priorities. Although he was distraught when his brother was murdered, Roche realised that they were involved in a war and there were bound to be casualties, so he channelled his grief into getting even. It had been a good few days.
Roche was in good spirits and was looking forward to his night out; he was going to see Phil Collins in concert at the Point Depot. Although the soulful Collins might seem like a strange choice of musician for a Dublin gangster to be a fan of, detectives spotted over a dozen serious and well-known criminals from across the city going to see Collins perform that night.
According to gardaí, for some reason there are two songs that really resonate with criminals in Dublin. These songs are a staple of every wedding, 21st birthday party and wake attended by well-known and petty criminals. The first is 'Eye of the Tiger' by Survivor, which was the theme tune for the Rocky films.
A high percentage of gangland criminals are serious boxing fans and would always attend championship title fights at The Point. Freddie Thompson is a massive boxing fan and regularly travelled as far as Las Vegas to take in the fights of Ricky Hatton and Joe Calzaghe. When Bernard Dunne fights at The Point, or the O2 arena, as it is now known, there are upwards of 15 armed and undercover gardaí mingling among the crowd. Virtually every criminal across Dublin attends these high-adrenaline events, and this could result in bloodshed if the wrong people ran into each other.
When 'Eye of the Tiger' is played at the Bernard Dunne fights, the crowd explodes with delight. The tune is a testosterone-fuelled number and brings out the best – or the worst – in macho men who remember watching Rocky and Apollo Creed square off against each other in the film when they were kids.
It can only be matched in popularity by one song – Phil Collins' 'In the Air Tonight,' a powerful song that tells the story of the singer witnessing an unspecified act, which leads to a death. Collins wrote the song while he was going through a divorce, and several urban myths have developed around it. Again, it is hard to tell why the song resonates with criminals, but there is an undercurrent of anger throughout, and when there is an explosion of drums going into the final verse, it never fails to bring the criminals to their feet to sing along. Maybe it is the fact that the singer has the power of life over death in the song, which criminals can relate to, or more likely, they just like the beat of the drums. It could also be because Phil Collins starred in the film Buster, about the Great Train Robbery. He played a petty criminal from the East End of London. It is hard to imagine that Irish gangland criminals would not only listen to his music, but actually go to his concerts.
Noel Roche had arranged to go to the concert with his girlfriend and aunt and uncle.
Eddie Rice drove Roche to the gig. Rice was 32 and hailed from Kilworth Road in Drimnagh. He was not a central member of the gang, but was a trusted lieutenant who was seen as very loyal to Rattigan, and especially to Noel Roche. He had a handful of convictions for relatively minor offences. Part of Rice's job was to run errands for Roche, and to generally make sure that he had everything he needed. While Roche enjoyed watching Phil Collins, Rice would have stood guard, making sure that everything was okay and that his boss had everything that he wanted.
At around 9.30pm, Roche and his girlfriend went out to the lobby bar for a drink. While he was there, either he or Eddie Rice saw somebody of whom they were suspicious. It is not known whether that person was a rival gang member or an associate of the Thompson gang, but Roche was concerned enough to leave the concert early for his own safety. He sent his girlfriend to tell his aunt and uncle that he had to head off. He dispatched Eddie Rice to the car park to get the car and pull up out the front, so he could safely leave the area.
Roche and Rice were unaware that they had been seen early in the night and were probably under surveillance while they were at the concert. A person inside the concert is known to have made a phone call to Paddy Doyle. He came out of his hiding place after the double murder two days before, and psyched himself up, ready to inflict yet another casualty on the Rattigan gang.
He summoned his driver, 21-year-old Craig White from O'Devaney Gardens in Dublin 7. White was a driver for the Thompson gang and quite low in the gang's hierarchy, but he was eager to learn the tricks of the criminal trade and was happy to do anything to please the gang leaders. He was driving a beige Peugeot 307 that had been stolen from outside a house in Blessington, Co Wicklow, five weeks previously.
Eddie Rice drove Roche and his girlfriend back across north Dublin to her apartment near Coolock. After dropping her off, Roche told Rice to make his way down the Clontarf Road towards town, and they would head into Temple Bar for a few pints. They were not being followed and were happy that they had left the Phil Collins concert without attracting any attention from the rival gang.
At around 10.25pm, a Peugeot 307 began to rev up behind Rice's Mondeo, attempting to ram it off the road. After getting the call and picking Paddy Doyle up, Craig White spent half an hour or so driving around to see if he could spot the Mondeo. The Thompson gang knew that Noel Roche had an offside apartment in Coolock, and headed in that direction to see if he had gone back to stay there. It was just sheer luck that they managed to spot Noel Roche on the Clontarf Road. The Clontarf Road is one of the busiest arteries that leads into Dublin city centre, with thousands of cars using it each morning. Even though it was late and there were few cars on the road, trying to pick out one car in a massive area of north Dublin was akin to finding a needle in a haystack, but Doyle and White were lucky. It is unclear if Roche knew that Paddy Doyle was in the front of the Peugeot with a gun, but he would have known that he was in serious danger, because he was not armed and was in an old car, and Eddie Rice wasn't turning out to be much of a getaway driver. Rice desperately tried to get his battered Mondeo away from Doyle and White, but his driving skills were no match for White, who refused to be shaken off. As Roche and Rice approached The Yacht pub, White managed to swerve across their path, leaving Paddy Doyle and Noel Roche side-by-side in the middle of the road.
Doyle whipped out a 9mm Glock and fired four shots in quick succession. His aim was accurate, and Roche was hit three times in the head, dying instantly. Eddie Rice slammed on the brakes as soon as the shooting started. He wasn't hit. He looked to his left and saw that his friend was dead. Although Rice was naturally shocked and covered in Noel Roche's blood, he fled his car. He began knocking on doors, trying to wake householders. Several people answered their doors in their nightclothes, only to quickly shut them when they saw a man covered in blood screaming frantically at them. Rice managed to make it into a back garden and escaped.
The Emergency Response Unit immediately flooded the streets of Dublin, and every garda was on red alert to look out for Rice, because it was feared that, as a potential witness, he might be the rival gang's next target. It seemed like he had vanished into thin air. The Garda helicopter spent the night searching for Rice from the air but without success.
Noel Roche's murder meant that his mother, Caroline, and father, Noel Snr, had lost two of their sons in just eight months. Caroline Roche knew that her sons were no angels and she also knew the intricacies of the feud. When she arrived at the scene of Noel's murder and saw him lying dead in the car, she immediately told gardaí that Paddy Doyle was responsible.
After being fingered for carrying out the three murders in less than two days, Paddy Doyle knew he was the most wanted criminal in Ireland, both by the gardaí, and worse still, the Rattigan crew. Roche and Rattigan had been very friendly all their lives. Brian Rattigan went absolutely beserk when Roche was murdered. A bounty of €60,000 was placed on Doyle's head. For the next few weeks, Doyle travelled around the city and out of the country with his head down and in heavy disguise – often going to such extreme lengths as to dress as a woman. He seldom stayed at the same address for more than two consecutive nights.
About a week after the Clontarf Road murder, Doyle went into Crumlin Garda Station and had a meeting with a senior detective. He said that he knew he was in the feud up to his neck and wanted a way out. The detective told him to admit to carrying out a crime, and he would see what could be arranged with the DPP's office. Doyle just looked at him and laughed, and said he would pass and take his chances. He did offer an insight into the way he was thinking, when he said that he thought that Freddie Thompson was a garda informant and that he did not trust him. He always suspected the worst of people and trusted nobody but himself. When the gangs became so big and began to make so much money, the friendships were replaced by business partnerships. Friendships seemed to be fickle and money was the motivator.
Paddy Doyle despised the gardaí, so the fact he was even talking to them showed just how desperate he had become.
Several gardaí were always struck by Doyle's vacant stare: he looked you in the eye, but his gaze penetrated you like you weren't even in the room. However, when Doyle said that he wanted to get out of the crime game, the senior officer in Crumlin believed him. The detective had heard this story dozens of times before, but knew that Doyle was genuine. Unfortunately, when you get into crime as deep as Doyle did, it is very difficult to get out. He was making tens of thousands of euro some weeks – he had more cash than he knew what to do with. It was believed that he had killed three men and would have to take responsibility for his actions.
A month after Noel Roche died, Paddy Doyle had enough of the pressure at home in Ireland and decided that he would have to leave the country permanently. He boarded a flight bound for Birmingham and then intended to head for Spain. When he passed through security at Dublin Airport, he probably knew in his heart of hearts that because of the massive price on his head, he would not be returning home any time soon.
Paddy Doyle was murdered in Spain in October 2007.
'Cocaine Wars' by Mick McCaffrey, published by Merlin, is on sale now, price €12.99
February 7, 2010

Monday, 1 February 2010

Top crime figure held in €300,000 drugs find

Top crime figure held in €300,000 drugs find
By Barry Duggan

Monday February 01 2010

ONE of the country's main criminal gangs has been dealt a major blow after gardai seized €300,000 worth of heroin and arrested a leading member of the outfit.

The crime figure was arrested in Limerick by gardai investigating the latest feud-related shooting in the city over the weekend.

Officers also recovered a shotgun that was used in the attack.

On Saturday evening, during a major search, gardai recovered a major cache of heroin on the Ballysimon road -- four miles from the city.

Two men were arrested as part of the investigation, and heroin with an estimated street value of €300,000 was recovered. It is understood the narcotics belonged to the Collopy criminal gang.

A 22-year-old man, considered to be a leading member of the gang, was arrested by gardai. He is a well-known criminal in the city and served a prison sentence for drug dealing.

The other individual being detained is from Dublin.

Meanwhile, detectives from Roxboro garda station were last night questioning a 25-year-old man suspected of being involved in the shooting of another man in the city on Saturday evening. The victim, aged in his 20s and from Bruff, Co Limerick, was shot on Carey's Road at around 5pm.

An assailant armed with a shotgun fired at least one shot at the intended target. He suffered pellet wounds to the legs and was brought to the Mid-Western Regional Hospital.

The man suspected to have carried out the shooting was arrested a short time later on Hyde Road. He can be held for up seven days. It is believed that the incident is drug-related and that the victim was targeted after he fell into debt with one of the city's criminal gangs.


Separately, gardai recovered a shotgun they believe was used in the shooting of a 27-year-old criminal in the city on January 22. The victim, who is also a member of the Collopy gang, was shot twice in the Ballynanty area of the city as thousands of rugby fans left nearby Thomond Park.

He was targeted by members of the McCarthy-Dundon criminal gang after his release from prison for drugs offences.

A 17-year-old who was arrested in connection with the incident was released without charge over the weekend.

- Barry Duggan

Irish Independent