MICHAEL KELLY (30) first came to the attention of gardaí for serious crime when he was still a teenager 11 years ago. On that occasion, he was caught in a north Dublin pub with a consignment of ecstasy tablets, convicted of drug dealing and given a suspended three-year jail term. Far from representing a short sharp shock, though, that might deter a young man from a life of crime, the incident was merely one of his early steps into the gangland underbelly of working class Dublin that now appears to have claimed his life. Kelly was a member of an organised crime gang based in the north Dublin suburbs of Donaghmede, Baldoyle, Coolock and his native Kilbarrack. The gang imported consignments of cocaine, heroin and other drugs from more significant international criminals in the Netherlands and Spain and sold them on to smaller gangs in Ireland. However, when the leader of the gang, David Lyndsay (38), and his friend Alan Napper (39) went missing in 2008, they were presumed murdered and Kelly was suspected of involvement. The men have not been seen since, although blood from one of them was found in a house in the North. Both are believed to have been killed. Their bodies have never been found. Kelly owed Lyndsay a large amount of money at the time of the pair’s disappearance. One gang member who effectively split from Kelly in early 2008 was shot dead in the weeks leading up to the Lyndsay and Napper disappearances. Anthony Foster (34) was gunned down at his home in Cromcastle, north Dublin, in July 2008. Kelly was suspected of involvement in the murders of at least two other men whom he knew through the drugs trade. Seán Winters (41) was shot dead outside an apartment block in Portmarnock last September, although the Real IRA in Dublin was also suspected of involvement in that killing. In the years since then, he had continued to deal drugs and to build his wealth. In December 2008, he was the target of a major raid by specialist Garda units including the Criminal Assets Bureau, when 12 properties were searched as part of a major investigation into the proceeds of drug-dealing in north Dublin. Last December that investigation concluded in the courts when a house in Navan, Co Meath, and two cars were confiscated from Kelly after the High Court ruled the assets represented the proceeds of crime. Since then he has spent his time in Dublin and Europe, apparently fearful that if he stayed here for too long, he would be killed by some of the many criminals he had crossed in the past decade. Apart from his drug-dealing conviction from 2000, he had about a dozen other convictions, most of which were for motoring offences and resisting arrest.
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