Fears that new gang leaders to take over drugs trade in Tralee
THERE are fears that two significant gangland figures are moving to take control of the drug trade in Tralee and north Kerry following the death of the notorious McCarthy Dundon gang's main contact in the county.
Senior Gardaí in Kerry, Clare and Limerick are investigating reports that the two prominent Limerick gangland figures are already taking steps to fill a local power vacuum created by the death of Tralee man James Powell last month.
Mr Powell, a known associate of the McCarthy Dundon gang who was described by gardaí as the leading figure in Kerry's underworld, died suddenly at his home in Tralee on July 16. It is now believed that two gangland figures, both closely linked to the now effectively defunct McCarthy Dundon gang, are actively attempting to take over the drug dealing, smuggling and counterfeiting operation formerly operated by Powell and others.
It is known that a number of individuals with outstanding debts to the Kerry gang have been contacted by associates of two criminal figures who are both claiming ownership of the debts and demanding immediate payment.
The most prominent new figure to emerge in Kerry in recent weeks is a man who is based in the north Kerry area and is believed to have strong links with the dissident Republican movement.
The second individual is a close associate of a prominent Clare based gangland figure who is believed to have been one of the McCarthy Dundon's main drug suppliers and who has close links to Irish and international criminals based in Spain.
A senior legal figure with knowledge of the investigation and the gang's activities told The Kerryman that there was clear evidence to show that a number of well-known criminal figures in Kerry and Limerick were eager to fill the void left at the top of the Kerry's criminal underworld as quickly as possible to prevent any other emerging group gaining a foothold.
They are thought to be particularly concerned about the threat to the illicit trade posed by Eastern European criminals, linked to drug dealing, prostitution and protection rackets, who have been making their presence felt in the greater Tralee area in recent months.