herald

Sunday 25 August 2019

Manhunt after machine gun and cocaine linked to 'Nellie' gang is seized

Jailed gangster James ‘Nellie’ Walsh
Jailed gangster James ‘Nellie’ Walsh

A manhunt was underway last night for a 25-year-old suspect after gardai seized a machine gun, a handgun, a quantity of cocaine and 70 rounds of ammunition in a raid targeting the 'Nellie' Walsh gang.

The planned search operation happened at the back of a house at Riversdale Crescent in Clondalkin at 6.30pm on Wednesday.

No arrests were made by officers who say the property is occupied by an innocent family.

"This was a very significant seizure - no arrests have yet been made. A suspect has been identified but he was not in the property when the items were seized," a senior source told the Herald last night.

The target of the operation is closely linked to jailed gangster James 'Nellie' Walsh and is also pals with a close associate of notorious criminal John Gilligan.

Last week, the Herald revealed that Gilligan's younger Clondalkin-based pal was the chief suspect for ordering an arson attack which could have led to the deaths of an innocent 31-year-old woman and her three children in Inchicore in September, 2017.

The 'Nellie' Walsh gang has been involved in a bitter feud in west Dublin that has led to four murders - two of them being associates of the jailed criminal.

In recent weeks there has been a number of arrests by Tallaght gardai probing one of these murders - the fatal shooting of John Gibson (28) at Fortunestown Lane, Tallaght, at 9.20pm on September 18, 2017, including the suspected female getaway driver.

A seized gun
A seized gun

Entrenched

Gibson's murder was the fourth of the entrenched Clondalkin drugs feud and officers have been investigating if he was targeted after swearing revenge for the murder of his pal Darragh Nugent (36), who was shot dead on Wheatfield Avenue in Neilstown almost a week before Gibson was slain.

There have been no further fatal attacks since Gibson was shot dead in Tallaght but the Condalkin feud is still active according to gardai.

Both Gibson and his older pal Nugent were closely linked to jailed Clondalkin hitman James 'Nellie' Walsh, who is serving a lengthy jail term for firearms offences.

Gardai believe the murders of Nugent and Gibson were carried out by a west Dublin crime group intent on "wiping out" Nellie Walsh's gang.

The gang were linked to the deadly Kinahan cartel and are considered west Dublin's biggest drug suppliers but they went into conflict with 'Nellie' Walsh around seven years ago.

Earlier this week that mob suffered a "significant setback" after a major drugs seizure in west Dublin. They have been at war with 'Nellie' Walsh's crew for around six years.

Walsh, who was jailed for 10 years in December 2016, after he shot himself in the leg while escaping from the scene of a feud shooting at a church car park, remains on a special protection regime in prison.

He shot Drimnagh thug Michael Frazer (37) in the Clondalkin church car park on March 26, 2014.

The gunman was previously investigated for three gun murders and other firearms incidents but he was sentenced at Dublin Circuit Court in 2016 for offences linked to the botched hit on criminal Frazer.

Possession

Apart from the Frazer hit, 'Nellie' is being investigated for hits on Gerard Eglington, Dean Johnson and Jason Carroll.

'Nellie' pleaded guilty to possession of a pistol with intent to endanger life at the Church of the Transfiguration, Bawnogue Road, Clondalkin, and attempted murder charges against him were dropped.

It emerged in court that Frazer refused to co-operate with the garda investigation but the Herald can reveal that gardai believe Walsh was hired by Frazer's former gang associates in the Crumlin area to shoot Frazer dead.

It was one of five different attempts on his life in the space of just over a year but the only incident in which he was actually shot.

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