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Lake of fire Fire at Donegal home once owned by drug dealer Desmond 'Dessie' Enfield

In June we reported how CAB scored a huge success in their fight against drug crime when they took possession of the stunning waterside property


Dessie Enfield

Dessie Enfield

Dessie Enfield

Gardaí and emergency services rushed to the scene of a fire in Ramelton Co Donegal last night, at a house that had once been owned by drug dealer Desmond 'Dessie' Enfield. 

Gardai said they attended the scene of the fire although “no persons were present in the premises and no injuries have been reported”.

“The scene is currently preserved for a technical examination,” gardai added. “Enquiries are ongoing.”

Dessie Enfield, who was jailed in 2016, was described in court as the leader of a cross-border drug gang.

In June we reported how the Criminal Assets Bureau (CAB) scored a huge success in their fight against drug crime when they took possession of the stunning waterside property in Donegal.


The house on the shores of Lough Swilly

The house on the shores of Lough Swilly

The house on the shores of Lough Swilly

The modern stone-clad home on the shores of Lough Swilly was once the playground for the drug lord and was due to be sold with the proceeds going straight to the exchequer.

The High Court has sanctioned the Bureau to take the house after a Proceeds of Crime case against flash gangster Enfield, who once liked to show off his property and take friends jet-skiing on the nearby lake at Ramelton in Donegal.

The beautiful lakeshore property had been kitted out with a high-end fitted kitchen complete with granite worktops and a black marble floor.

While fittings including a fridge, range-style oven and dishwasher had been removed from the house, the fixtures were still in place and the entire estate was due to be sold in the coming months to the highest bidder.

'Dessie' has been hit where it hurts more than once by the Bureau. CAB has already confiscated and sold luxury cars belonging to him, including an Audi and a Volkswagen Golf, and pocketed cash found at the house and in a network of accounts linked to the cross-border thug.

Enfield's home was searched in 2018 while he was in custody in Northern Ireland.

He was jailed in 2016 and described in court as the leader of a cross-border drug gang and one of Ulster's most-prolific dealers.

He had been nabbed with €340,000 worth of cannabis herb which was being transported from Newry to Lurgan in the back of a van.

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During the search of his home, documents and other items were seized by officers from the Bureau who have been painstakingly putting together a case against him ever since.

Earlier this month, the case concluded and officers were handed over the keys of the pad which they have now secured for the State.

Enfield was identified by both the PSNI and local Bureau profilers working in the north west of the country who are specially trained members of the Garda force. Their role is to identify possible targets for the CAB.

Once identified, a target has to fit certain criteria centred around lifestyle and assets within the Republic of Ireland before the Bureau takes on an investigation into their wealth.

Raids or searches of premises involving residential, commercial and often solicitors' and architects' firms follow, after which a full financial probe gets underway.

In Enfield's case, he was regularly seen in high-powered cars, stayed at the stunning Donegal property while he travelled over and back to the North and enjoyed days out jet-skiing on Lough Swilly with friends.

At the same time he was building a reputation for himself in the North as a major player on the drugs scene.

He was nabbed transporting vacuum packed drugs from Newry to Lurgan in the back of a van when officers from the PSNI put him and others under covert surveillance.

He was jailed along with Kieran Austin (63), from Lurgan, Darren Donnelly (35), from Omagh and Seamus Boyce (40) from Letterkenny. It is understood Enfield (37) headed up the gang, which spread across Derry and into Armagh.

The CAB has trained profilers working across Cavan, Monaghan, Louth and into Donegal where they have identified more than 100 targets in the border regions, including cigarette smugglers, drug dealers and fuel launderers.

Enfield tried to put up a battle against the Proceeds of Crime case but he was no match for the CAB or the experienced officers who handled the case against him.

Last year he consented to allow the cars seized from him to be sold once the money was placed in an account and not touched until the case was concluded.

During the proceedings the High Court heard he would claim that the house was left to him as part of an inheritance but that the Bureau would argue it had increased in value due to the expensive refurbishment job.

He was first named in court in August 2020 under legislation around criminal assets in the case based on searches carried out at the property.

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