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Friday 24 January 2020

Rattigan stooge quizzed after €130k drug bust in McDonald's car park

The drugs were found in a McDonald’s carpark.
The drugs were found in a McDonald’s carpark.

A close associate of mob boss Brian Rattigan is in custody after gardai recovered more than €130,000 worth of drugs.

The heroin and cocaine haul was seized after officers observed a car moving in a suspicious way in the carpark of the McDonald's restaurant on the Kylemore Road, Dublin.

The vehicle was searched and a quantity of heroin and benzodiazepines were found.

Two houses in the Crumlin and Drimnagh area were later searched and cocaine was also discovered.

In total, the drugs seizure has an estimated street value of €135,000 while a male and female, both in their 20s, were also arrested.

The man in custody is a close associate of Rattigan (39), currently serving a sentence for directing a drug enterprise from behind bars.

Killer

Gardai believe the suspect, aged in his early 20s, has been involved in Rattigan's drugs businesses while the convicted killer remains in jail.

Rattigan is due for release in 2021 and is currently being held on C-Wing of Portlaoise Prison, the same wing where Freddie Thompson is held.

The men were centrally involved in the Crumlin/Drimnagh feud, but in the High Court this year both men claimed they have since reconciled.

A female, who is known to the man in custody, is also being quizzed over the drugs bust.

Brian Rattigan
Brian Rattigan

They are both being questioned under the provisions of Section 2 of the Criminal Justice (Drug Trafficking) Act 1996 at south Dublin garda stations.

The operation was intelligence-led and involved drug units from Crumlin and Sundrive Road Garda Stations.

A source told the Herald: "This is a significant capture for a local drugs unit following a lengthy investigation into drug dealing in the area.

"The man arrested is closely connected to Brian Rattigan who, despite his claims in court, is still believed to be returning to his involvement in crime.

"He will be out in 2021 and appears to have a group of young lads loyal to him operating his network ahead of his return," the source added.

Last January, he was jailed for nine years for stabbing Declan Gavin to death in 2001.

Rattigan, of Cooley Road, Drimnagh, pleaded guilty to the manslaughter of Mr Gavin (20), who he stabbed in the heart with a knife outside an Abrakebabra in Crumlin on August 25 that year.

Mr Justice Michael White made the sentence concurrent to a jail term he is already serving, and backdated it to October 1 last year.

He had been tried for murder twice in 2009; the first jury could not reach a verdict but a second jury convicted him. However, that conviction was successfully appealed in 2017.

He was due for another retrial last year but last October 22, he entered a guilty plea to the lesser charge, which was accepted by the State.

Rattigan has been in custody since 2003, and in 2013 was given a 17-year sentence for sale or supply of drugs from within prison, with a release date with remission in November this year.

Mr Gavin's killing sparked the infamous Crumlin-Drimnagh feud, which claimed 16 lives over 10 years.

Despite Rattigan and Freddie Thompson being leading members of the feuding gangs involved, the pair have claimed that there is no bad blood between them.

In a sworn statement to the High Court - where he brought a case against what he claimed was an "extremely oppressive" regime - Thompson said that he was "informally told" that he had been moved to his current location due to a perceived feud with Rattigan.

Meeting

He said that after he was sentenced he "agreed to meet with Rattigan," in a meeting he said was "facilitated by the prison authorities".

"I sat down and talked with Mr Rattigan who I have only ever met once in person on one previous occasion.

"I say that we spoke at length about how the media had fuelled the idea of a raging feud between us," he said.

He took the case having spent 18 months on the A4-Wing of Portlaoise Prison, known as the punishment block.

However, the case was withdrawn last month after Thompson was moved to the C-Wing of the high-security jail.

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