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How feared city crimelord 'Mr Big' became mired in savage Drogheda feud

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Gardai examine a car with a bullet hole in the window at the scene in Bettystown where Richie Carberry was gunned down

Gardai examine a car with a bullet hole in the window at the scene in Bettystown where Richie Carberry was gunned down

Gardai examine a car with a bullet hole in the window at the scene in Bettystown where Richie Carberry was gunned down

Known simply as Mr Big, he's one of the most feared gang bosses in the capital and the State.

The mobster, who cannot be identified for legal reasons, has been involved in the higher levels of organised crime for more than 12 years.

Based in Coolock, he is also the alleged mastermind behind the murder of Real IRA terror boss Alan Ryan.

Northside detectives are now dealing with a fresh alert after Mr Big placed a death threat on a young criminal who unwittingly burgled the Kilbarrack home of one of his associates.

Alliance

The question now is why such an experienced and cunning gang boss got involved in the Drogheda feud, forming an alliance with Traveller gang boss Cornelius Price in a "dangerous marriage of convenience" against a common rival.

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Kenneth Finn

Kenneth Finn

Kenneth Finn

The short answer is the murder of Richie Carberry, a 39-year-old drugs trafficker who was shot dead outside his home in Bettystown, Co Meath, last November.

Mr Big and Carberry had an uneasy relationship, mostly stemming from being from the same neighbourhood but running rival drug empires.

Following an earlier attempted murder outside his home last March, Carberry installed bullet-proof windows.

Detectives believe Carberry, who was part of the anti-Maguire faction in the Drogheda feud, had been "directing the operations" of two criminal brothers from the town.

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Richie Carberry

Richie Carberry

Richie Carberry

These two have been at war with associates of paralysed mobster Owen Maguire for more than a year-and-a-half as the feud spiralled out of control.

Carberry was on very friendly terms with the on-the-run psychopathic Dublin gangster who quickly emerged as a chief suspect in the killing of Keane Mulready-Woods last month.

This pal of Carberry was also the chief suspect for the botched gangland hit on Owen Maguire in July 2018, which inflamed the Drogheda feud.

When Carberry was shot dead, the Maguire faction were happy to take the credit - but his younger pal, who was then in prison, had different ideas.

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Cornelius Price

Cornelius Price

Cornelius Price

Within hours of Carberry's murder, the suspected hitman from north Dublin, who is in his mid-30s, alleged in a prison phone call - secretly recorded - that Mr Big was responsible for Carberry's brutal murder.

There have been no arrests yet in relation to the killing, with sources saying that a reckless teenage gunman from Coolock - who had close links to slain hood David 'Fred' Lynch - is suspected in underworld circles of being the gunman.

This teenager has close links to Mr Big's drugs mob and gardai have investigated whether he was enlisted by them to murder Carberry.

In March 2009, Carberry's pal - now a suspect in the Mulready-Woods murder - had also been investigated for the murder of 26-year-old David 'Fred' Lynch, who was shot four times in the head in the Coolock area. He was never charged over the gun murder but Lynch's younger associate swore revenge on the gangster.

This may have made it easy for the Mr Big mob to enlist Lynch's younger associate to murder Carberry, who was due to fund his pal's lifestyle on release from prison.

Additionally, there was already bad blood between Carberry's pal and Mr Big. This primarily relates to the fact that Carberry's pal is the chief suspect for the murder of Kenneth Finn (36) - a close friend of Mr Big - who was shot dead in Coolock in February 2018.

Mr Big's gang wanted revenge for Finn's murder and intended to kill the recently-released criminal - at the same time, Carberry's pal wanted to take out Mr Big for Carberry's murder.

Carberry's links to the opposing side in the Drogheda feud and a bitter jail row also brought in another player - gangster Cornelius Price.

As tensions grew over Christmas, there was a street row between Carberry's pal and Lynch's young associate.

In the meantime, gardai received information that both the Price and Mr Big gangs were now plotting to kill Carberry's pal, so he was advised it was unsafe to return to his Coolock powerbase.

This infuriated the gangster, who saw it as a major slight to his credibility, and he was seen associating in Drogheda far more frequently with the anti-Maguire faction in the weeks leading up to Keane Mulready-Woods' murder.

Fled

It is believed it was he who came up with the barbaric plot to abduct, murder and dismember the teenager. As the Herald revealed earlier this week, he is believed to have fled the country.

As for Mr Big, senior sources familiar with his activities believe he will continue to make huge money from his drugs trafficking enterprises. He has, they say, been involved in many gangland feuds in the past and has been at the centre of many major garda investigations but has always come out unscathed.

His gang is suspected of a spate of gangland murders, some of which cannot be outlined here for legal reasons. However, they are the chief suspects for the murder of 32-year-old Real IRA terror chief Alan Ryan.

He was shot dead in Clongriffin, north Dublin, on the afternoon of September 3, 2012 - a crime in which slain Kenneth Finn is believed to have been the gunman.


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