Dublin mobsters cruise loyalist Shankill in search of UFF drug boss Mo Courtney

The appearance of a Dublin-based gang in the heart of the loyalist stronghold has sparked alarm

Denis Cunningham, left, with UDA boss Mo Courtney

Richard SullivanSunday World

Dublin mobsters cruised Belfast's Shankill in search of UFF drug boss Mo Courtney, the Sunday World can reveal.

A carload of men pulled up outside the offices of the Lower Shankill Community Association on Thursday evening just as UDA mouthpiece ‘Dopey’ Denis Cunningham was locking up for the day, a source has claimed.

He was so startled he dropped the shutter keys before denying any knowledge of the guns incident or Courtney’s whereabouts and then scuttling away.

Former jailbird Cunningham reportedly remains a commander in the terror group but continues to work for the publicly-funded community group.

He gain ed notoriety for reading statements on behalf of the UDA while wearing his tell-tale specs outside his balaclava.

The appearance of a Dublin-based gang in the heart of the loyalist stronghold has sparked alarm.

The Shankill has long been a UDA/UVF stronghold where the rival groups dominated and controlled criminal rackets such as extortion, loan sharking and drugs.

The influence of south-based drug gangs in the North has been on the increase in recent years with a number of outfits relying on the likes of the Kinahan cartel to supply their drugs.

Southern crime bosses have shown no hesitation in the very heart of Belfast with a series of gangland murders in recent years.

Sources have told us paramilitary chiefs have no desire to be caught up in a conflict with cut-throat gangs from the south.

The Dubliners have brought a new level of ruthlessness to the criminal underworld where the rule is shoot first and ask questions later.

The Sunday World understands it may already be too late for Courtney to save his skin and now finds himself in a near impossible position.

Threatening messages and videos have been shared on social media including one purporting to be from Los Pepes in which the senders allege certain people have installed drops bars in their home, accusing them of “hiding under their beds”.

Los Pepes, comes from the Spanish phrase “Perseguidos por Pablo Escobar” which translates as “Persecuted by Pablo Escobar”, and was a vigilante group composed of enemies of the Columbian drug tsar.

They waged a small-scale war against his cartel which ended after Escobar was shot by police in 1993.

Sources have indicated those hunting Courtney and his right-hand man will not rest until they get satisfaction.

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