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Episode 103: The Lithuanian gang who flooded Ireland with heroin through their network of slave dealers

How Eastern European mob moved into the heart of loyalist Belfast and onwards to the big cities of Ireland

Nicola Tallant

A Lithuanian gang who flew unwitting slaves into Ireland to sell heroin and then starved and beat them sounds like the plot from a TV crime drama – but that’s exactly what happened over the course of 15 years until Gardai, the PSNI and their Eastern European counterparts uncovered the mob.

Known as ‘The Russians’, the gang fuelled Northern Ireland’s emerging heroin market from the mid 2000s and later placed agents in Cork, Galway, Waterford and Kerry after being run out of Dublin by bigger gangs.

Nicola Tallant talks with journalist Paulie Doyle, who followed the trail of gang leader Kestutis Klemauskas and his violent lieutenants from Lithuania into the heart of loyalist Belfast and onwards to the big cities of Ireland where they pocketed a fortune from the slave dealers.

In a lengthy investigation for Vice World News and working with the Organised Crime and Corruption Reporting Project, he drew together the pieces of a story that make for an incredible insight into organised crime in a modern world.

Crime Word Podcast can be found on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts and Soundcloud.

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