Ex LVF crime lords Drew and Billy King ‘top dogs’ in deadly border drug gang The Firm
Drew ‘The Piper’ King and his brother were two of 67 names given to the Sunday World detailing all known and active members
Former LVF crime lords Drew and Billy King are high-ranking members of the Mid-Ulster killer gang known as ‘The Firm’, a source has told the Sunday World.
The veteran criminal brothers, with a long history of violence, are an integral part of the organised crime gang, it has been claimed.
Drew ‘The Piper’ King is the only man who was ever charged with the murder of Sunday World journalist Martin O’Hagan in 2008, but the charges were later withdrawn. Despite this, the Sunday World has consistently exposed the brothers as the main men behind the brutal shooting of our colleague Martin in 2001.
Drew was famously pictured leading the funeral cortege of LVF founder and leader Billy ‘King Rat’ Wright in 1997, and along with his brother was an integral member of the sectarian terror group.
The Sunday World can reveal the brothers, who have been involved in criminality and the drug trade for almost 20 years, are said to be key players in the mob.
Almost 22 years after Martin O’Hagan was gunned down just yards from his Lurgan home, they are still heavily involved in the murky world where the price on life means nothing.
Drew ‘The Piper’ King and his brother were two of 67 names given to the Sunday World detailing all known and active members of The Firm.
The members share many roles to make the criminal gang as profitable and ruthless as possible including drug dealing, extortion, money laundering and murder.
Each member has a use and a skill.
Sources say the Kings’ involvement is crucial to The Firm – however they are answerable to the head of the gang, the son of a former member of the IRA.
The gang is dealing in prescription pills, cannabis and cocaine but has drawn the line on ‘dirty drug’ heroin over fears of a community backlash.
The gang consists of criminals on both sides of the divide, former loyalists and dissident republicans united in their thirst for money and murder.
The Sunday World can also reveal that there are currently 12 women who are active members of The Firm used mainly to provide alibis, hide cash and stash drugs when needed. Most are in relationships with gang members.
Sources say the gang has access to guns and ammunition and they are not afraid to use them if needed.
The Firm have also been linked to the murder of crime bosses Malcolm McKeown and the attempted murder of Jim Carlisle and sources close say they have been implicated in further murders through the years and have not ruled out further killings.
“Lurgan is about to explode. The whole of Mid-Ulster is bracing themselves for what’s next.
“If someone else has to be taken out then that’s what will happen, they are ruthless, make no mistake about that,” another source revealed. “There is inside feuding, rows that can easily get out of hand. This is all about drugs and protecting The Firm’s position in Mid-Ulster and protecting the flow of cash.
“If anyone steps out of line to jeopardise that then they would be better off leaving the country, that is the safest option.”
There were fears of a revenge attack in the aftermath of a recent murder, and some insist this is still a possibility.
“At this stage no one knows but it can never be ruled out because this whole thing is set to explode, it’s only a matter of time before something happens.”
He added: “Because of the heavy police attention, they are all over the place up here, things will probably simmer for a while but it will only be a matter of time before something happens,” he claimed.
On top of internal pressures, The Firm are also feeling the heat from the CIRA in Lurgan who have vowed to eradicate the drug gang.
The Sunday World understands that several members have been sent threats to cease the activities or pay the ultimate price.
Masked and armed members of the dissident group have been seen patrolling the streets of the Kilwilkee estate to make their presence felt and their intentions clear.
Despite no real support for the CIRA in the community, their presence is more palatable than The Firm and their claims that they will take on the drug gang have been welcomed by many.
“The Continuity IRA will not sit back and watch this escalate, to enable them to grow and flood our areas with drugs.
"They may think they control this area but they will be proved wrong. They have been warned,” one CIRA member told Sunday World.
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