herald

Thursday 21 November 2019

Drug trafficker shot six times in gun murder linked to deadly feud

  • Target of Maguire gang had been warned life was in danger

  • Victim had fitted bulletproof windows after last gun attack

Gardai at the scene of the murder in Bettystown
Gardai at the scene of the murder in Bettystown

A major north Dublin drug trafficker became the second murder victim in the deadly Drogheda feud when he was shot six times outside his home in Bettystown, Co Meath.

Father-of-two Richie Carberry (39) was gunned down after getting out of his car in the Castlemartin Drive estate at 11.40pm on Monday - he was pronounced dead at around 1am yesterday.

It is understood a gunman had been waiting for the "major league criminal", who is originally from Coolock and was classified as one of the senior players in the Drogheda feud on the anti-Maguire side.

He was shot a number of times in the back and arm as he attempted to flee the gunman. His body was found on a footpath outside his home.

Escaped

Carberry had been officially warned by gardai that his life was under grave threat and he previously survived an attempted murder at his Bettystown home on the night of March 5 this year.

On that occasion, three shots were fired into the front door and window of his home before a gunman escaped in a car which was found burnt out just outside the housing estate.

After that attack, Carberry installed bulletproof windows in his home which is located close to Bettystown village.

In his murder, a van believed to be used as a getaway vehicle was found on fire on Eastham Road less than 1km from the attack site.

Yesterday, gardai revealed that three cars were hit during the attack - the victim's car, a car next door and a car parked across the road, and that an automatic pistol had been used.

Superintendent Fergus Dwyer of Ashbourne Garda Station said the attack was a matter of grave concern for gardai.

Murdered Richie Carberry – after last March’s attack he installed bulletproof windows in his home near Bettystown village
Murdered Richie Carberry – after last March’s attack he installed bulletproof windows in his home near Bettystown village

"Some of those bullets could have gone through a window of a house here, as you see, this is a residential area, a lot of families, a lot of young children," he said.

He also confirmed the victim knew his life was in danger and an attempt had been made on his life last March.

Since then there has been an increase in garda patrols in the Castlemartin estate, and gardai were in the area just half an hour before the murder.

But this was not enough to save Carberry, who detectives believe had been "directing the operations" of two criminal brothers from Drogheda who have been at war with associates of paralysed mobster Owen Maguire for more than 18 months.

Carberry first became a key target for the Maguire organised crime gang because an innocent woman known to him is "on very friendly terms" with a currently jailed gunman, who is the chief suspect for the botched gangland hit which paralysed crime kingpin Owen Maguire (36) in July of last year which inflamed the feud.

The Maguire faction also blamed Carberry for supplying weapons used in that gun attack.

In revenge, the Maguire mob are suspected of burning out Carberry's new home in the Balrath area of Co Meath in October of last year - an attack which was investigated by Navan gardai.

"Carberry was a major league criminal but his senior role in the Drogheda feud seems to be his undoing," a source told the Herald last night.

"But he was involved in other disputes including with a veteran north Dublin drug dealer who had been demanding cash from Carberry in recent times.

"These cash demands relate to an incident in which Carberry lost €700,000 of the drug dealer's cash when he got robbed by a Moroccan gang in Holland a number of years ago."

Senior sources say Carberry, who was originally from Riverside Drive in Coolock, had a 'major stake' in a €3.2m haul of cannabis herb that was seized in Co Louth last week.

He was suspected of trafficking cocaine and ecstasy in the north east and the capital, and his Coolock gang links meant he was associated with both sides in the Hutch/Kinahan feud.

However, he also associated with Nigerian and Lithuanian gangs and was involved in buying top-of-the-range cars from a Waterford-based Eastern European drugs trafficker.

Despite his criminal pedigree, his only criminal convictions were for minor public order offences.

Gardai have been investigating whether associates of Cornelius Price - the English-based mob boss who is a close ally of Owen Maguire - may have been involved in organising the murder.

It is the second killing that the Maguire faction is suspected of carrying out in the Drogheda feud after Keith Branigan (29) was shot dead outside a caravan park in Clogherhead, Co Louth, on the afternoon of August 27 last.

Detectives are now fearful of reprisals after a number of weeks of "relative calm" in which there were no incidents in the dispute, having previously seen dozens of firebomb attacks, assaults and shootings over the past 18 months.

Yesterday, family and friends of the victim came and went to the house to support his wife Eileen, who was in their home when her husband was shot dead.

Local Fine Gael councillor Sharon Tolan knew the victim and his family, and questioned how someone was able to drive into the estate and kill him when he was a known target.

"I was aware from last March that there was an individual who had been targeted. I'm totally shocked to wake up this morning to this news," she said at the scene yesterday.

"Regardless of reports there is an individual, a husband, a father and a neighbour, dead. There are serious questions we need answers to," Ms Tolan said before adding that she had met Carberry walking his dog on a nearby beach on Sunday.

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