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A rebel UDA unit is re-arming in a grim warning to rival drug dealers.

A rebel UDA unit is re-arming in a grim warning to rival drug dealers.

The breakaway South East Antrim has issued a warning that it will get tough with Carrick dealers threatening their own lucrative business - even going as far as beating their own men for dealing on the side.

Camera shy Carrick commander Clifford Irons is so desperate to keep control of the seaside town's burgeoning drugs trade that he ordered four of his own men to be beaten.

The victims all received broken arms in savage punishment attacks.

Cocaine is the currency in Carrick and until recently the UDA ran the show with drugs on tap 24/7, but a recent influx of so called loyalist blues - a mix of Ecstasy and ketamine, a horse tranquiliser - threatened Irons narcotics business.

Blues are more commonly associated with Belfast, and north Belfast UDA in particular, but sources have told us the drug which can induce severe depression, is widely available in the Co. Antrim town.

Irons, also known as 'Trigger' after the famously thick Only Fools and Horses character, was furious his business was being affected.

And when he learned his own dealers were holding back on him he ordered four of his men be battered. All were back on the streets working for Irons within hours of being beaten.

Now Trigger has added Loyalist Blues to his list of drugs for sale.

Washed

Well-placed community sources have told us the drug is sellng by the 'boxload.'

But Irons' attempt to reassert his authority may backfire. He has tried to step back from direct involvement in the UDA trade by appointing a new commander.

The man, whose identity is known to the Sunday World, is currently awaiting trial on serious criminal charges and has been tasked with keeping the rank and file in line.

He has also talked another veteran UDA man out of retirement to bolster his position. We are also aware of this man's identity, a former jailbird who was released under the terms of the Good Friday Agreement, it was thought he had washed his hands of the terror group, but he has been coaxed back into the fold.

"Make no mistake Trigger is still pulling the strings," said our source, "this new commander is his dog's body and he's using him to keep an eye on business."

Carrick UDA buy their drugs from criminal gangs in the north of England, notably Manchester and Liverpool, and the narcotics are then smuggled into Northern Ireland hidden in cars. The gear is brought in through either Larne from Scotland or on the Holyhead to Dublin ferry route before being driven north.

We understand they are able to buy cocaine for £300 an ounce, before cutting it and selling it on at rate of £700 an ounce. Sources have told us the the profit margins can be as high as 500 per cent depending on far they cut the drug.

And they are using their drug gangs contacts in Britain to rearm and have already brought in a number of clean handguns.

"They have been putting the word out that are re-militarising, and it true that they were tooling but it has nothing to do with anything other than money.

"Irons is a greedy bastard and he will go to any lengths to protect his cash flow."

He said at the recent Remembrance Sunday service, traditionally attended by all UDA personnel, Irons made a point of standing away from the main party.

"There he was, with his wee gang of drug dealers," said our source, "money is all he cares about."

While Irons is viewed with disdain by his own men his position as UDA boss in Carrick is secure as long he continues to pay SEA Brigadier Gary Fisher his slice of the profits.

Handed

"Trigger may be an a******e but he keeps his nose clean as far as Rathcoole is concerned, Fisher will never move on him while the money flows."

However there growing question marks over Trigger's cosy relationship with the police.

The Sunday World has spoken to a number of well placed loyalist sources in the town who claim information about the UDA's drug dealing has been passed to the PSNI, including details of known members addresses, car registrations and locations where they sell drugs.

No action has been taken against him, now members are openly questioning his behaviour and in particular a recent incident in which he ordered his men to report to a licensed premises outside Carrick. All the men were there but Irons and half a dozen of his drug dealing runners made their excuses and made their way to a pub in Larne.

"He ordered all his men to go, then disappeared," said one member who was present.

"The lads were expecting the police to arrive."

The fact he is allowed to operate with impunity has raised questions not only within the community but within his own organisation.

Irish Independent