Irish News

Thursday 31 July 2014

Gangster cut from crashed van with €2m worth of drugs

Tom Brady Security Editor

Published 29/11/2012|05:00

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A SUSPECTED gang boss was arrested with €2.2m of speed after the van he was driving was involved in a crash.

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The man, who has been investigated by gardai in connection with three murders here and is reputed to be a former associate of another gang leader, Freddie Thompson, had to be cut free from the vehicle after it crashed on the M1 motorway in west Yorkshire.

UK police carried out a detailed search of the van at Wakefield police station and found a haul of amphetamines with an estimated street value of £1.8m (€2.2m) inside.

The man, who is suspected of being a significant player on the gangland scene here in the past, was not seriously injured in the accident.

The drugs had been concealed within the body of the vehicle.

While the van was being searched, police put extra security around the compound that it was stored in.

The man has since been charged with illegal possession of the drugs.

As part of follow-up inquiries, British detectives have been here to liaise with gardai this week and an investigation is under way on both sides of the Irish Sea.

Gardai said the man was well known to them.

He is suspected of being involved in serious crime, including money laundering and drug trafficking.

But he has only relatively minor criminal convictions and is said to usually adopt a hands-off position when his gang is involved in an operation.

He allegedly had close links with the gang led by Freddie Thompson during the deadly Crumlin-Drimnagh feud.

The man is said to have moved abroad after a number of setbacks here and moved initially to Spain.

But it is understood he later had an argument with Thompson and switched base to the Netherlands before moving to the UK.

While the van was being searched, police put extra security around the compound that it was stored in.

The man has since been charged with illegal possession of the drugs.

As part of follow-up inquiries, British detectives have been here to liaise with gardai this week and an investigation is under way on both sides of the Irish Sea.

Gardai said the man was well known to them. He is suspected of being involved in serious crime, including money laundering and drug trafficking.

But he has only relatively minor criminal convictions and is said to usually adopt a hands-off position when his gang is involved in an operation.

He allegedly had close links with the gang led by Freddie Thompson during the deadly Crumlin-Drimnagh feud.

The man is said to have moved abroad after a number of setbacks here and moved initially to Spain.

But it is understood he later had an argument with Thompson and switched base to the Netherlands before moving to the UK.

He came to the notice of the British police while living in the Middlesborough area where he surrounded himself with a small group of associates.

His name featured in a number of garda investigations into murders including the shooting of Vincent O'Brien, who was shot several times as he sat on a couch in the living room of his home at Kilbride Grove, Bray, Co Wicklow, on August 10, 2005.

Shot

An inquest into Mr O'Brien's death heard that the victim had shared a can of beer with his killer moments before he was shot three times in the head.

Neighbours told the coroner's court they were watching television when they heard four loud bangs.

The gunman, who was wearing a baseball cap and a hooded top, was seen running past the house by a family friend immediately after the noise.

Gardai were satisfied the shooting was carried out by a lone gunman, who had spent some time in Mr O'Brien's company and was known to him.

No file was submitted to the DPP because of insufficient evidence.

Irish Independent

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