A CONVICTED murderer who controlled a Dublin street gang that specialised in snatching mobile phones has been deported back to his home country, Romania.
Cristian Pricop (39), a former soldier who was jailed for murder in the Eastern European country, was expelled from Ireland last week after gardai secured a removal order against him under EU legislation.
Pricop was the ringleader of a gang of Romanian street thieves that specialised in stealing iPhones from unsuspecting passers-by.
He was deported last Tuesday following an investigation by Gardai from Pearse Street station and the Garda National Immigration Bureau.
According to a source, Pricop "was heavily involved in muggings, assaults, organised pick-pocketing and the theft of smart phones".
He was also said to have been the chief suspect in "very violent attacks" on gay men in the vicinity of the George Pub on Dublin's southside.
"This criminal seemed to have a big thing against gay men," the source said.
Gardai were able to secure his deportation from Ireland after they became aware of Pricop's conviction for a murder in Romania in 1998.
Their enquiries also revealed that he had received a separate 11-year jail sentence for a serious assault.
He moved to Ireland following his release from prison and became involved in street crime here.
A senior source said: "The streets of the capital will be much safer now that this individual has been taken out of circulation."