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Sunday, 27 July 2008

Freddie Thompson, leader of one of the feuding Drimnagh/Crumlin gangs,assassinated in Spain

22:36 |

Dublin gangland figure 'Fat' Freddie Thompson, leader of one of the feuding Drimnagh/Crumlin gangs, was alive or dead after rumours spread throughout Thompson's associates that he had been assassinated in Spain.Senior garda sources said last night there had been no reports from Spanish police of a murder. Thompson left Dublin last weekend for Spain amid reports of a growing threat to his life. He has been warned several times by gardai about threats to his life.The sources said that there was no evidence of a murder, or disappearance, but did confirm that Thompson's associates believe he is dead. Intelligence reached gardai early yesterday that Thompson's gang were unable to contact him and that it was completely out of character for him to lose contact with his gang.Thompson, 27, was in Estepona in southern Spain in February when one of his close associates, Paddy Doyle, also 27, was shot dead. The murder has not been solved but Spanish police indicated to gardai that they suspected Doyle -- and Thompson -- had run foul of Turkish drug traffickers.Thompson was on the scene shortly after the murder, though it was not absolutely established if he was travelling in the car in which Doyle was shot, though Spanish police believe he was. A short time later Spanish police seized a car in a nearby car park and found 110kg of cocaine.Thompson travels between Dublin, Amsterdam and the Costa del Sol. He was arrested in Rotterdam in October 2006 when police seized seven kilos of cocaine, six handguns and ammunition at an apartment he had been used. He evaded prosecution on a technicality when the case came to trial in February 2007.Thompson is also an associate of Martin Foley, who has been the target of several murder attempts -- the latest in January when he survived being hit by five bullets.The feud in which Thompson and Foley are caught up began in 2000 when a gang of young drug dealers from the Drimnagh-Crumlin area fell out after gardai seized cocaine in the Holiday Inn in Pearse Street. The gang split and the violence started with the murder of one of the gang in 2001.
Since then there have been nine more murders, dozens of attempted murders and hundreds of violent incidents. The intelligence reaching gardai about Thompson's disappearance come after an upsurge in activity from his enemies, who carried out at least one known assassination attempt early this month and were planning another murder last week.The spread of Irish gangland violence to Spain is not new and six known Irish criminals have been murdered there in the past four years. In 2004, the leaders of the Westies gang, Stephen Sugg and Shane Coates, were murdered and buried in a secret grave in Alicante. John McKeown, 48, said to be a major figure in international drug trafficking, was shot dead in January last year in Torrevieja. Sean Dunne, 32, from Coolock, was shot dead in September 2005, also near Alicante. And, the body of Cork man Michael 'Danser' Ahern was found stuffed into a freezer in Albuifera, Portugal, in September 2005.
Gardai who know Thompson said last week that the murder in Spain of his friend Paddy Doyle had badly affected him and he had been acting in an erratic manner since.
Doyle was Thompson's main "enforcer" and had personally carried out the assassinations of two of Thompson's rivals. Doyle had been living in Spain since 2005.
Twenty-five drug dealers in south inner Dublin have been cautioned by gardai that their lives are under threat arising from the bloody feud between the two Drimnagh and Crumlin-based gangs.
It is the largest number of such warnings ever issued in a single division.
Intelligence has led local detectives to intercept and prevent several murders, but sources say the threat to life is ever present, with gang members "floating around" looking for rivals and setting up people for assassination.
One attempt at murder narrowly failed earlier this month when a leading member of one gang, whose brother was killed in the seven-year feud, was shot at near the North Strand.
That plot was carried out by members of the gang led by the opponents of Freddie Thompson, who narrowly escaped assassination in February this year when gunmen opened fire on a car he was a passenger in at Estepona on the Costa del Sol.
Paddy Doyle, from Portland Row in north inner Dublin, who was a front seat passenger in the car, was shot dead. Gardai said that following yet another upsurge in activity around the south inner city, Thompson left for Spain last week. Gardai arrested a man in the south inner city last week who is suspected of carrying out gun and machete attacks on the homes of Thompson's mother and grandmother earlier this year. Gardai say that Thompson's opponents, the gang formerly led by Joseph Rattigan who was murdered in 2002, are currently pushing to try and take over control of the drugs trade in the south inner city. The Garda "G" District -- which covers the Crumlin and Drimnagh areas -- currently, has the highest homicide rate in the country, with eight killings since last October, though not all of these were gang related.
Local gardai say that this might be a record for a single Garda District, and that they are desperately short of resources to handle so many murder investigations.
Gardai in some of the worst affected areas in Dublin are critical of the fact that even though they are making regular arrests of gang members on drugs and firearms offences, they nearly all get bail.
"We're doing out job, the DPP is doing their job and the prisons are keeping them in. The courts aren't doing their job," one source said.The Government changed the Bail Act in 1997 following a referendum the previous year sparked by public outrage over the number of accused, including people charged with murder, who were routinely being released on bail. Garda sources say that some of the most dangerous criminals in Dublin are currently on bail. In many cases, they say, the criminals are at their most active when on bail because they are usually trying to amass money to look after family while they are in prison.
Meanwhile, gardai in Finglas and Coolock are continuing their search for the killers of the two men gunned down within 12 hours last weekend. Both Trevor Walsh from Finglas and Anthony Foster from Coolock are believed to have been killed by rival drug dealers. Gardai said the murders do not appear to have been linked. Asked about feuding that had been going on the Finglas-Blanchardstown area last week, one local garda said: "It's too complicated to explain." There are a number of rivalries and vendettas between drug dealers in the Finglas-Blanchardstown area that have arisen since the break up of the "Westies" gang and the murders of its leaders Stephen Sugg and Shane Coates in Spain two years ago; and the break up of the gang led by Martin Hyland, who was shot dead in December 2006. One source said that there are currently a number of criminals vying to take over the drugs trade in the north-western suburbs of the city, and this is expected to lead to more killings.The north inner city feud, which has claimed four lives over the past year, is still "live" according to gardai.
And despite claims earlier this year that a truce had been engineered in the Limerick feud between the Keane-Collopys and the McCarthy-Dundons, this too is "active".
A plot to murder a senior McCarthy-Dundon gang member was uncovered last month when gardai stopped a car containing two rival gang members and a former IRA assassin.
A map detailing the location of the gang member's home was found in the car, leading gardai to issue a caution to the man believed to have been targeted.

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