A TRAIL of text messages showed how jailed gang leader Brian Rattigan directed his drugs empire from his cell in the country's maximum security prison.
Rattigan (32) is the first drug dealer to have been found guilty of directing the supply of drugs while behind bars.
The texts detailed requests for heroin, codenamed 'dark', and directions to associates nicknamed 'Dicko', 'Paret Man' and 'Lips'.
They also revealed the panic as gardai closed in. "Get rid of your phones quick," he told his then partner as detectives raided a house in Dublin and seized 5kgs of heroin worth over €1m.
Rattigan, formerly of Cooley Road, Drimnagh, had pleaded not guilty before the Special Criminal Court to the possession of heroin and two counts of possessing the drug for sale or supply on Hughes Road South, Walkinstown, Dublin, on May 21, 2008.
However in a written judgment, Mr Justice Paul Butler said he was satisfied that a 'tick list' sent by Rattigan to a mobile phone which was found with the heroin haul, along with notes found in his cell, proved he was directing the distribution of the drugs.
The list contained the names of those working for Rattigan and the weight of heroin assigned to each.
The court was told that when gardai raided the house on Hughes Road South they discovered 5kgs of heroin and a red-and-white Nokia phone in a shed at the back of the property.
Detective Sergeant Brian Robertson gave evidence that a text message taken from the Nokia phone, which spoke of 'half bars', 'boxes' and 'nine' being allocated to names such as 'Gangko', 'McGyver', 'Peck' and 'Crazy', referred to the division of drugs by weight. The court heard that the message was sent from a phone number belonging to a SIM card that was thrown out of Rattigan's cell.
Members of the Garda Organised Crime Unit who raided Rattigan's cell in Portlaoise Prison told the court that they found the accused lying on his bed with a mobile phone in his hand, and that he threw this phone out of his cell when confronted by gardai.
Mr Justice Butler said the court was "fully satisfied beyond a reasonable doubt" that Rattigan threw a mobile phone out of his cell upon the arrival of gardai to search it, and that he was in possession of that device and others found in his cell.
He cleared Rattigan of two counts relating to the possession of two mobile phones while an inmate at Portlaoise Prison on May 22, 2008, which the defendant had denied.
Rattigan is the leader one of the gangs involved in the deadly Drimnagh-Crumlin feud, which has claimed up to 15 lives since it erupted more than a dozen years ago.
The first victim of the bloody clashes was Declan Gavin, who was stabbed to death in Crumlin in August 2001.
Rattigan was subsequently convicted of his murder but is currently appealing that decision.
He will be sentenced for the drugs crime on March 20.