herald

Saturday 18 August 2018

Double dealing of south city street cop is like plot from Hollywood hit

COLLUDING with organised crime to forward his career and offering info on bitter drug rivals, Dublin's bent cop could have been invented by Martin Scorsese.

The story of a garda cocaine ring will seem eerily familiar to anyone who has seen the Hollywood blockbuster, The Departed.

Greed, intrigue, betrayal -- they're the themes that run through both stories.

The Dublin garda, who is now the subject of a massive investigation by the Garda Internal Affairs Unit, is a mirror of Matt Damon's character (Colin Sullivan) from Oscar-winning movie, The Departed.

Both were brought up by responsible fathers with honourable jobs.

But both became ensnared by the trappings of gangland life -- and revelled in how flouting the laws would make them appear great among their law enforcement peers.

Tiger

The Departed's gangboss Frank Costello, played by Jack Nicholson makes the point that there is a thin line between being a cop and being a criminal. "When I was your age they would say we can become cops, or criminals," Costello said. "Today, what I'm saying to you is this: when you're facing a loaded gun, what's the difference?"

Dublin's bent cop operates out of Dublin G District which covers Crumlin and Sundrive Road Garda Station.

The district includes some areas which have echoes of the projects in Boston where the Departed is set, with drug traffickers, tiger kidnappers and armed robbers and a very real gangland presence.

In the movie, Matt Damon's character is groomed by Costello from an early age to join the force where he can act as a rat for his criminal operation.

Our cocaine garda was probably encouraged from an early age to pursue a career in law enforcement -- but for very different reasons. Dublin's drug garda has used his contacts to amass up to 22 criminal cases in the last six months, a number which most gardai would be fortunate to get close to in a year.

He was allegedly getting information from some drugs gangs as a reward which allowed him to make street dealer arrests. All of these cases have now been placed in jeopardy.

The majority are active in the Crumlin-Drimnagh area, and are linked to two feuding crime gangs.

One is led by notorious gang boss 'Fat' Freddie Thompson, the other by a major criminal serving a prison sentence.

Lawyers for the alleged dealers may now apply to have charges thrown out, on foot of the arrest of the prosecuting officer for drugs offences. He was questioned and released last week and is suspended from the force.

Rivals

In The Departed, Damon's character graduates quickly to the Special Investigation's Unit where he solves a murder case with the help of Costello. The Boston gangster plants a weapon registered to his rivals (from Providence) and fingers them for the murder.

Rising in his superiors' estimations, Colin Sullivan is given greater responsibility and is in an even better position to protect his gangland friends.

Gardai here suspect that Dublin's cocaine garda may have been providing info to criminal elements and have been examining his mobile phone and computer records.

Investigators are also looking at how many times the garda accessed the criminal intelligence database, Pulse.

As with every crime movie where the criminals get their just desserts, they are either caught or betrayed.

In our case, the story has just begun...

hnews@herald.ie

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