NewsCrime Desk

Gangland siblings take control of prison drug dealing

Crime DeskBy Eamon Dillon
Eddie O'Loughlin
Eddie O'Loughlin

A GANGLAND thug has taken control of drug dealing behind bars at Castlerea prison after being transferred back to the west of Ireland lock-up.

Eddie O’Loughlin had previously been moved to another jail after being accused of intimidating other inmates along with his brother Michael.

The towering brutes have used their physical presence to coerce other prisoners, according to sources.

Gang boss Eddie had links to now deceased Dublin drugs dealer Karl Breen, who died shortly after his own release from prison.

Now O’Loughlin has been re-asserting his authority at Castlerea, according to sources.

Previously a prisoner on temporary release claims to have been ordered at gunpoint to stuff a consignment of tablets in his back passage.

The O’Loughlin brothers, who were the first people jailed under new anti-gangland laws, had been caught up in a tense prison feud with a traveller family, but the leader of that criminal gang has been moved from Castlerea after Eddie’s return.

Their feud over the market for drugs in jail led to acts of violence on the outside, it is claimed.

Michael O'Loughlin

Drug use behind bars has shifted to pharmaceutical tablets, which are much harder for prison authorities to detect.

The brothers, who have dozens of criminal convictions between them, had a fearsome reputation on the west coast of Ireland. They were blamed for fuelling serious crime in the region by terrifying people into carrying out criminal acts to pay off drug debts.

Both are now serving time for being part of a criminal organisation. Gardaí successfully installed bugs and began gathering evidence over several months.

The secret Garda Operation Foolscap saw the arrest of the O’Loughlins and 10 of their associates in 2010.

The brothers had also sourced guns and drugs from the Keane-Collopy faction in Limerick and had links with Sligo gangster Patrick Irwin, according to sources.