Gardai are trying to locate ‘Champagne Killer’ Karl Breen after the notorious criminal moved from where he had been staying in the midlands without informing officers where he is now living.
The gangster had spent most of his time in Athlone, Co Westmeath, since his release from jail in October but he has not been spotted by gardai now for almost a fortnight.
Sources say that as part of the terms of his release from prison, Clondalkin man Breen is obliged to inform the probation services of where he is living but this has not happened.
“It is not that there are major concerns for his welfare or anything like that but because he is perceived to be a dangerous criminal, gardai are very keen to know exactly where he is,” a senior source said.
“He has not been spotted since he left Athlone where he had hooked up with a number of local criminals, some of whom he met in jail, but there has been no sightings of him now in almost two weeks.”
Sources say that at its peak, between 2004 and 2007, Breen’s gang were one of the biggest heroin trafficking gangs in Dublin and were linked to at least three gangland murders in the capital.
Breen (34) – who was jailed in 2007 for the fatal stabbing of his friend Martin McLaughlin – was released from Mountjoy Prison in early October having served some of his stretch at Ireland’s highest security prison in Portlaoise.
He served a nine-year sentence for the manslaughter of his pal on January 1 2006, during a cocaine and booze fuelled session at Jurys Croke Park Hotel.
Breen earned his ‘Champagne Killer’ nickname when it emerged that he was part of a group of five couples who drank five bottles of Moet & Chandon before the New Year celebrations turned very nasty.
At his murder trial in October, 2007, it was revealed that Breen stabbed his mate Martin McLoughlin three times in a brutal row before going on the run for two days.
The build-up to the case was marked by a campaign of terrifying intimidation against witnesses which was driven by Breen’s gangland associates.
After being jailed, Breen was caught with illegal mobile phones on several occasions in jail and was also involved in a number of jail fights.
The bitter west Dublin feud between Breen’s notorious ‘D22’ gang and the Clondalkin based gang known as ‘The Family’ led to numerous pipe bomb and gun attacks between 2006 and 2010 which culminated in the gun murder of gang enforcer Pierce Reid in August, 2009.
The murder of Reid – who was considered Breen’s right-hand-man weakened the mob and the ‘D22’ gang are no longer major players in the capital’s underworld.
However gardai believe that Breen has been making attempts to re-establish himself since his release and this is the main reason why they want to know where he is this weekend.