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infamous raid Dealer jailed for cocaine bust which sparked Crumlin/Drimnagh feud is found dead at home

Phillip Griffiths, the lifelong friend of Graham ‘The Wig’ Whelan, was discovered at his home yesterday.

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Philip Griffiths

Philip Griffiths

Philip Griffiths

A drug dealer whose arrest at the Holiday Inn Hotel sparked the Crumlin and Drimnagh feud has been found dead in tragic circumstances.

Phillip Griffiths, the lifelong friend of Graham ‘The Wig’ Whelan, was discovered at his home yesterday.

The tragedy is the second to hit Whelan in recent years after his partner also died in their home in Drimnagh.

Whelan and Griffiths were part of the original gang lead by Declan Gavin, which ‘Fat’ Freddie Thompson took command of after Gavin was murdered by rivals.

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Graham 'The Wig' Whelan

Graham 'The Wig' Whelan

Graham 'The Wig' Whelan

The pair were arrested after the infamous Holiday Inn Hotel raid on Dublin’s Pearse Street in March 2000 which has had major repercussions for the two decade since the seizure.

The pals had spent the night breaking up the large block of coke into individual one-gram deals when officers raided rooms at the hotel.

At the time the profits of the drugs were to be shared with more than 10 members of a teenage Crumlin and Drimnagh-based gang, including Gavin and Brian Rattigan.

But when Gardai burst in to the two adjoining hotel rooms – 24 hours into the preparation of the cocaine consignment – everything changed.

Whelan and Griffiths were literally caught red-handed with the drugs but Gavin was having a lie down and wasn’t physically touching any of the gear when the raid went off meaning he had to be released after questioning.

Rattigan immediately pointed the finger at his business partner accusing him of being a Garda informant.

Gavin levelled the same accusations at Rattigan. In the days and weeks that followed the Crumlin and Drimnagh gang drew battle lines and clearly divided forever more.

Griffiths was jailed for 7 years for possession of the drugs.

In his defence Mr Barry White SC said that he was not in charge of the operation and only ranked at number two.

He said that he had been awarded £15,500 in compensation in 1998 and had drifted away from employment and began to abuse cocaine.

“When I ran out of money he (unidentified dealer) put it on the slate and I was then approached by this person to bring drugs from one point to another as part payment for my debts and continuing addiction,” he told the court.

Despite his protestations that he had been lured into the drug gang Griffiths was in fact firmly embedded in the group led by Thompson and was a close friend of David and Liam Byrne.

Whelan spent years in Birmingham where he worked along side Thomas ‘Bomber’ Kavanagh after his release from prison.

He returned in recent years and has attempted to forge his own niche in the market after moving away from the organised crime group and seemingly falling out of favour.

His home was raided and he is now subject of a major investigation by the Criminal Assets Bureau. Last year his partner died in tragic circumstances.

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