Sunday 15 September 2019

Four men arrested in major raids into torture kidnapping

Major Garda operation: Boulders and a barrier blocking the entrance to a former halting site on Cement Road in Drogheda. Photo: Frank McGrath
Major Garda operation: Boulders and a barrier blocking the entrance to a former halting site on Cement Road in Drogheda. Photo: Frank McGrath

Ken Foy and Conor Feehan

Four men remained in custody overnight after members of the Garda Armed Support Unit conducted a series of raids in Drogheda.

The men – three of whom are in their 20s and a fourth man in his 40s – have involvement in the local feud, which has escalated recently, culminating in the kidnapping and torture of a 22-year-old two weeks ago.

One of the four men, a 23-year-old, is believed to be the leader of one of the two gangs involved in the feud, and has connections to other criminals in north Dublin.

He was being questioned under firearms legislation last night about the kidnapping and torture of a man on November 11.

The 22-year-old victim was abducted by a gang of men.

Armed gardaí saved the man’s life when they stormed a house to discover him stripped in a bath. He was bleeding heavily after being slashed over half a dozen times in the face, neck and torso. Gardaí believe that he was about to be murdered if they had not intervened when they did. 

It’s understood a gun was placed in the man’s mouth during the ordeal. The gun has not yet been recovered.

The kidnapping came following a series of tit-for-tat attacks between both gangs in the days previously.

One such attack saw a viable explosive device placed in the exhaust pipe of a car belonging to the girlfriend of the 23-year-old arrested man, which occurred just hours before the 22-year-old man was kidnapped and tortured.

Yesterday, some six searches were conducted by the Armed Support Unit, the ERU, local gardaí and the Criminal Assets Bureau, at various locations in Drogheda, including the Moneymore housing estate.

At one house in Moneymore, the main glass panel in the front of the property, which appeared to be a bullet-proof or toughened unit, was left lying against the front of the building. It had been shattered and there was a hole visible in it, as if caused by a projectile.

The front door had been removed and appeared to have been taken from the scene as part of the operation. Gardaí in unmarked cars could be seen patrolling the Moneymore estate during the day.

On nearby Cement Road, on the outskirts of Drogheda, the Traveller camp where associates of the opposing faction in the feud were based has now been demolished.

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