AN EX-PAT crimelord is flooding Ireland with tens of thousands of euro worth of drugs every week as he takes advantage of the jailing of fellow drugs kingpin 'Mr Big'.
SOURCES have revealed that northside criminal, chiefly based in Benalmadena, has "stepped up" his drug-trafficking operation since gang boss Mr Big was arrested in a major operation last month.
A source said: "This lad is gone mega scale – he is easily importing over 100 kilos of high grade cannabis into Ireland each week but he is also bringing in cocaine and heroin.
"He is supplying a vast patch which not only includes Dublin but was also the midlands and the west of Ireland."
The expat, who is aged in his early 30s, witnessed his close friend Michael 'Micka' Kelly being shot dead by a Real IRA assassination team team at Clongriffin, North Dublin in September, 2011.
Since Kelly was murdered, the northside native has only sporadically been seen in Ireland and has spent most of his time in Benalmadena in Spain's Costa Del Crime, where he linked up with major Irish crime player Paul 'Burger' Walsh.
On one occasion he had almost €70,000 cash forfeited to the State after a court heard that gardai were satisfied he was friends with drug dealers and the funds were the proceeds of crime.
Sources say that since Mr Big's arrest, the expat gangster has stepped into the void and his drug business is now thriving.
The Herald has learned that one of the big-scale dealers who is buying drugs from him is a hood known as 'Fathead', who now lives in Swords having previously lived in Donaghmede.
Despite being on the garda radar for years, Fathead has barely any convictions and is said to be an "extremely smart criminal".
"But he thinks nothing of abusing the gardai when they stop him – people have been wondering how he can be driving around in top-of-the-range jeeps and cars but the answer is fairly simple," said a source.
Fathead has been of the main beneficiaries of expat gangster's expansion into the drugs market and has in turn expanded his own operations.
In September 2011, his friend 'Micka' Kelly – who was nicknamed 'The Panda' by the media – was leaving his fiancee's apartment in broad daylight and walking to a car being driven by his pal when gunmen opened fire.
His pal sped off in fear of his life and Kelly was left on his own die. Kelly's partner heard the shots and ran from her apartment to see the father of her children lying dead.
Sources say that the expat and his right-hand man Paul 'Burger' Walsh (32) have taken advantage of the fact that Mr Big is under renewed pressure from the IRA and gardai after his gang murdered RIRA terror chief Alan Ryan in September.
The expat and Burger have also linked up with south inner city gangster 'Fat' Freddie Thompson in Spain.