NewsCrime Desk

Six scumbag drug lords who went from riches to rags

Jeffrey Mitchell
Jeffrey Mitchell

The famous phrase 'the bigger they are, the harder they fall' was never more fitting than in the case of these six former drug dealing scumbags who went from riches to rags


This boozed up junkie who assaulted a woman in an unprovoked attack was once one of Ireland’s top drug dealers.

Jeffrey Mitchell’s fall from the top of the criminal world has been spectacular.

The gangster, from Crumlin in south Dublin, had once led a gang suspected of shipping more than 40 kilos of heroin into Ireland every month.

The soccer-mad charmer was also a big hit with women and, despite a violent streak, was known to pay his gang members well.

But, last week a different picture of Mitchell emerged in court.

Mitchell, who pleaded guilty the frightening assault in February 2013, had drank 30 vodkas on the night and had been dabbling with heroin at the time.

A woman who left a pub in Phibsboro at 3am to walk home suddenly heard a running noise behind her and an arm reached around her neck.

She was dragged from the footpath and was told by her attacker that if she kept moving he would throw her into the canal. The incident lasted a few seconds and the man was chased for a time by passers-by.

Mitchell, who was one of Ireland’s most-senior drug dealers in the early 2000s, was sentenced to three years in prison. He has 70 previous convictions, including assault, robbery, possession of a firearm and handling stolen property.

At one point, his gang was shipping 40kgs of heroin into the country each month and making massive profits, according to sources.

But the thug ended up behind bars when he was caught red-handed in an attempted jewellery heist.

Last week, it emerged that while he was serving that sentence, eight members of his family – including his parents – died in an eight-month period.

As a result, he became addicted to drugs, although he managed to rehabilitate himself before relapsing again.

While in prison he was also attacked in one brutal incident, suffering serious wounds to his neck and head.

Mitchell had previously been the target of the notorious Westies gang, whose leaders Shane Coates and Stephen Sugg were since murdered in Spain.

A key member of Mitchell’s gang, David McCreevy, was shot dead in 2002, which Mitchell denied having anything to do with.

“I may rob banks and sell drugs, but I don’t go around killing people,” he told the Sunday World at the time.

Mitchell is not the only underworld high-flyer whose career has gone from riches to rags.


Abraham Turner was used to the champagne lifestyle when he was one of the biggest drug dealers in the country, but ended up a drug addict stealing bottles of champagne to fund his habit. 

Turner was destined for a life of crime, as he was a nephew of the notorious drug crime family the Dunnes – who introduced heroin to Ireland in the early 1980s.

At one point he bought a house in Walkinstown and kitted it out with a personal gym and a marble-tiled Jacuzzi.

However, Turner’s drug-pushing finally caught up with him when he was caught with a €100,000 heroin haul in 2003.

He was sentenced to 10 years with two suspended.

More recently he appeared in Naas District Court charged with stealing Moet champagne and Jameson whiskey from shops in Kildare in May 2014.

His barrister told the court that Turner was a heroin addict.


Abraham Turner's uncle, Larry Dunne - the first heroin kingpin - has also fallen on hard times.

The 67-year-old still has a house in south county Dublin, but he once lived a champagne lifestyle and was chauffeured around Dublin in a limo in the 1980s.

The former millionaire’s criminal career came to end when he was caught with a €60,000 drugs stash and spent 10 years behind bars until 1995.


Sligo thug Patrick Irwin once ruled the north-west and lived a life complete with speedboats, luxury homes and flash cars.

‘King Scum’ had it all until CAB secured orders for the seizure of almost €150,000 from the family home and more than €100,000 in bank accounts.

He is currently behind bars serving a seven-year sentence for possession of cocaine.


Wayne Dundon is also back in jail after his gang terrorised Limerick for more than 10 years.

The brash gang boss was undermined by his own insatiable greed as gang members turned on him.


‘Fat’ Tony Amstrong ran bars, partied at his gated villa and looked after business interests for drug lord John Gilligan from his base in Alicante.

But when he was charged in connection with the murder of Coates and Sugg it all went drown the drain.

When he got out of jail on €55,000 bail put together by friends, he couldn’t to get back on his feet and now he squats in empty houses on the Costa Blanca.