The extreme violence of 'New Westies' gang
A drug-dealing gang dubbed the New Westies is quickly emerging as a dangerous outfit with a thirst for deadly violence.
The gang’s leaders have been linked to at least seven murders and have even tried to claim responsibility for gangland killings they had nothing to do with.
In their early 30s and late 20s, they make their cash from the cocaine trade and are quick to tackle anyone they see as a possible threat to their lucrative business.
The gang’s leaders are closely linked to the traveller community, using the lifestyle and culture to help hide their activities.
They frequently travel between their base in Dublin and Louth to Northern Ireland and the U.K.
They took over the drugs market left by the murder of Coolock-based gangster John Paul Joyce and control the trade in north-east Leinster.
Joyce was found shot dead in a ditch near Dublin Airport in January 2010.
They are behind a campaign of intimidation against members of the Whitehouse family in Balbriggan, Co. Dublin, which continued even after the murder of Benny Whitehouse in 2014.
The 35-year-old was hit with several bullets as he went to get back into his VW Polo.
The gun attack, which came after he dropped his daughter to school, also left his partner wounded.
The New Westies are also suspected to have carried out the murders of Willie Maughan and his girlfriend Anna Varsalane.
The couple have been missing since last April after they are believed to have fallen foul of the gang.
The Sunday World previously revealed how one source claimed they were beaten to death by a paranoid gang leader.
Despite an ongoing Garda investigation their bodies have not been found.
The gang has also attracted the attention of dissidents, but one of the gang’s leading thugs claims to have killed a dissident who tried to force them to hand over nearly €100,000 of their ill-gotten gangs.
Gang members are guilty of extreme violence against members of their own families and elderly people.
They are prime targets for Gardai seeking to keep a lid on 2016’s gangland fault lines.