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Life and death of drug baron they called 'King Gear'

ONE of Ireland's most notorious drug traffickers has died from a brain tumour.

Gang boss John 'Seanie' Comerford flooded Dublin with heroin from his base in Manchester for almost two decades, earning himself the nickname 'King Gear'.

The Ballyfermot native left this country in the mid-1990s because of intense pressure from gardai and rival mobsters but his impact is still being felt.

The criminal -- who was aged in his early 40s and was originally from Drumfinn Road in the west Dublin suburb -- was buried on Wednesday after funeral Mass at St Matthew's Church in Ballyfermot.

It is understood that he had been terminally ill with a brain tumour for two years.



Bullets

A source said: "He won't be a great loss -- he was a very serious criminal who was in charge of a violent drug trafficking organisation. His funeral was meant to be kept a secret -- his associates did not want a media or garda presence there.

"Comerford was being investigated under anti-gangland legislation and it is possible that had he lived, he would have been facing serious charges before the courts."

Gardai had wanted to question him about his role in a violent 2009 brawl. This brawl would end up leading to a feud between Comerford's gang and a mob led by notorious Ballyfermot crime lord that directly caused four murders.

The most notorious of these killings was the murder of two of Comerford's closest associates in June, 2010.

Brothers Paul (35) and Kenneth Corbally (32) died in a hail of bullets in a car on Neilstown Road in Clondalkin.

The two brothers had spent time living in Manchester after Comerford was jailed for 10 years for heroin dealing in England in 2000.

Sources said that the feared brothers worked as enforcers for Comerford's gang.

Comerford was also very close to Michael 'Budner' Byrne (38), from Clondalkin, a major drug dealing figure who was convicted for the possession of 32kg of heroin valued at €6.2m and sentenced to 18 years in jail in April 2010.

The gang boss was originally part of the so-called M50 gang who stole cars for use in ram raids across the country, but he quickly progressed in the crime world to become an international drug dealer.

The heroin which Comerford controlled was being brought from Afghanistan to Pakistan, through Turkey and the UK and into this country.

Comerford was so notorious that his activities were even highlighted by the late Dublin TD Tony Gregory in a Dail debate on drugs in February, 2000.

Gardai have had great success against his operations in recent years and apart from the 'Budner' Byrne bust, three senior gang members including Seanie's brother Jason Comerford (40) were given stiff jail terms for drug dealing in June of last year.

Seanie Comerford's younger brother, Jason Comerford (40), was jailed for eight years, as was his associate Don Brennan (36), from Rossmore Avenue, Ballyfermot. Senior gang member, Dermot Griffin (52), from Ballyfermot Avenue, was jailed for a total of 14 years.

All three had pleaded not guilty to having €52,000 worth of heroin at Waterstown Park in Palmerstown, west Dublin, on May 19, 2008.

But the trio were convicted after a 10-day trial.

kfoy@herald.ie


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