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Cartel threaten criminal after botched drug op sees stash burned

The ashes left after locals burned the dumped drugs and phones
The ashes left after locals burned the dumped drugs and phones

A convicted cigarette smuggler has been threatened by Kinahan Cartel members after being accused of botching a cross-border drug operation.

The Sunday World can reveal the convicted cigarette smuggler from Northern Ireland has been threatened by a ruthless gang who have links to the Kinahan Cartel.

The man is terrified that he could pay the ultimate price after shutting down a cannabis factory that has resulted in the gang being left substantially out of pocket.

The man is the central player in the growing drugs epidemic that has hit South Armagh.

Not only does he import cocaine from Kinahan-linked gangsters, he was the man behind a cannabis factory in the area that was in operation until two weeks ago.

Today he is living in fear for his life after a series of incidents resulted in drugs being destroyed, confiscated by police and the cannabis factory shut down.

Last month locals in Co. Armagh destroyed a substantial amount of cannabis and cocaine and mobile phones belonging to him that had been dumped at a roadside in Jonesborough by one of his men.

The Sunday World can reveal the haul was set alight after it was dumped by dealers, who panicked when two members of the gang were caught by gardaí in the Republic with a substantial stash of cocaine, believed to be worth more than €70,000.

The nearby cannabis factory was shut down immediately, sparking fury among a gang based in South Dublin who see the factory as a vital part of their income.

Last week, two members of the gang travelled from Dublin to Dundalk, Co. Louth, to give the drug smuggler a stark warning about paying up for their losses.

“He runs the operation so the buck stops with him. He’s the one who has to answer to the boys in Dublin and that is life-threatening. If they don’t like the answer they get, they will take you out. They have done it before and that’s scaring the s**t out of him,” said one underworld source.

“Every day the cannabis factory is closed, money is being lost – and that’s before you get into the drugs caught in the car and the ones burned by the locals. 

“It’s a total disaster. This could end very badly if he doesn’t hand over substantial compensation for the f**k-ups he’s being blamed for,” added the source.

Since he emerged from prison, the man has become the kingpin on the Jonesborough side of south Armagh. 

He is linked also to the other major drug importers on the Crossmaglen side of south Armagh – the gang linked locally and in the media to the brutal killing of Detective Garda Adrian Donohoe during the robbery of a credit union in Co. Louth in 2013.

Meanwhile, tensions within that faction have been growing after drugs and cash were seized at a house outside Crossmaglen last Saturday.

According to sources, €20,000 and a quantity of drugs were seized, yet there were no arrests. In the wake of the raid, a fight broke out among the Crossmaglen gang, in which one man attacked another with an iron bar.

Also on Saturday night, a row broke out among the Jonesborough chief and his close associate, who is on bail after being caught with drugs.

Sources said it ended up with the chief driving a car at the man.