Tralee drug king dies

James Powell
James Powell

HUNDREDS of mourners lined the streets of Tralee on Monday evening ahead of the funeral of James Powell, a man once described by gardaí as the leading figure in Kerry's criminal underworld.

The father of four died suddenly at his home in Ballymullen last Wednesday aged 40.

Mr Powell, who gardaí had described as a "key figure" in Kerry's underworld, had 23 previous convictions for offences involving drugs, assault and counterfeiting, dating back to the early 1990s.

In the years prior to his death gardaí had dubbed James Powell "Mr X" who was described in court as "a major player" with "significant and ominous connections" to leading crime gangs, including Limerick's Dundon faction, at the very top of Ireland's drug trade.

On Monday several hundred mourners attended McElligott's Funeral Home, opposite the Powell family home on Urban Terrace, to sympathise with his family.

In March 2006 James Powell was jailed for four years in connection with the seizure of €370,000 worth of cannabis in Tralee. He was also linked, though never charged, with the discovery of over 8.8kg of amphetamines and 8,000 ecstasy tablets in Ballinorig in June 2011.