GARDAÍ seized a large amount of suspected cocaine during raids on properties in the Limerick City strongholds of the Dundon McCarthy crime gang, who it is feared have enlisted UK gang members to sell drugs out of Limerick.
Dozens of armed Gardaí attached to the Armed Support Unit and the Limerick Divisional Drugs Unit searched a number of properties in the Hyde Road and Ballinacurra Weston areas on Wednesday morning.
As well as the drugs haul, Gardaí also recovered a cocaine press machine during yesterday’s raids on the south side of the city.
The Dundon McCarthy gang once reigned as the most feared criminal network in Ireland until several of its leaders were apprehended and are serving life for a number of murders.
Along with the McCarthy Ryans, the Dundons were involved in a decade long feud with the rival Keane and Collopy drug gangs.
A number of former members and associates gave evidence against the gang leaders which led to Gardaí breaking up the Dundon network. This opened up the area for other local drugs dealers to move in on the former Dundon territory.
However, it’s now believed that a young associate of the Dundon mob has enlisted the assistance of ‘Yardie’ gangsters who have roots in Jamaica and are based across the UK.
According to a local source, this group has been “throwing their weight around” and are trying to take over the drugs business on the south side of the city.
The Dundon’s links with the UK are long-established. A number of the senior members of the gang were born in England but quickly established a base in the Hyde Road and Ballinacurrra Weston areas of Limerick.
They used their UK crime links when they hired Birmingham criminal James Martin Cahill to murder nightclub security manager Brian Fitzgerald in 2002.
Gardaí believe Mr Fitzgerald was murdered by the gang because he refused to allow their members to distribute drugs in a Limerick city nightclub.
Cahill was convicted of the murder and also testified against Dundon hitman, Gary Campion, who had denied driving Cahill to and from the murder scene. In 2007, Campion was given a life sentence for Mr Fitzgerald’s murder.
Two years later, he was also given a life sentence for the 2006 murder of “Fat” Frankie Ryan, one of his former associates who he shot in the head at point blank range while they both sat in a car in Moyross.
The Dundons also used their UK links to acquire the gun used to shoot Brian Fitzgerald.
The 9mm handgun, which Cahill used in the murder was made in England by two gun enthusiasts and sold on to the Dundons.
Although video footage of armed and masked Gardaí carrying out yesterday’s raids in Limerick was widely shared across social media platforms, Gardaí did not initially offer a statement on the raids.
However when asked for comment, a Garda spokeswoman replied: “Gardaí attached to the Roxboro Road Crime Office conducted a number of searches at several properties on Hyde Road and Lenihan Avenue, Prospect on Wednesday, February 16.
“During the course of the searches, a cocaine press was seized and a large quantity of white powder which will now be subject to analysis by Forensic Science Ireland.”
“Garda investigations are ongoing”, she added.