MORE than a dozen of the country’s most dangerous criminal masterminds have relocated to Liverpool where they have been involved in organising major drug shipments into the country over the past few months.
Included in the 'Merseyside Cartel’ are senior figures in the gang that murdered Real IRA terror chief Alan Ryan as well as a number of other senior gangsters who are based in England to escape attention from gardai and rival mobs.
Sources say that the expat criminals have held a number of crime summits and are taking advantage of the lack of police attention in the city that traditionally has had close links with organised criminality here.
A senior source said: “Intelligence has come in that indicates that these criminals, who are primarily from north Dublin, have linked up with local crime gangs and are working together with them to bring in drugs from Spain where other Irish criminals are based.”
One of the most senior of these gangsters is a major league criminal who spends most of his time between Liverpool and a property in Co Meath.
He has barely any previous record despite being one of the main targets of the international police investigation codenamed Operation Majesty which was revealed last September.
Gardai released details at that time that €2.5m in cash, €2.5m worth of cannabis herb along with firearms, ammunition, grenades and luxury cars have been seized in Ireland and across Europe in connection with Majesty.
The gang being targeted are believed to have set up a massive criminal operation importing cannabis from the Netherlands into Ireland via the postal system.
Operation Majesty was revealed almost two years after gardai targeted the gang boss in separate raids that led to the seizure of €4.4m worth of drugs and thousands of euro worth of contraband cigarettes
The gangster in control of the operation is a 36-year-old who works closely with his younger brother in Liverpool.
They were both very close associates of Sean Dunne, a well-known armed robber and drug dealer who disappeared in Spain in 2004. He is presumed to have been murdered.