Gang boss Barry Young snared by 16,000 Whatsapp messages
The 37-year-old, who was involved in plot to murder notorious hitman Robbie Lawlor, thought he was untouchable, got lazy and dropped his guard
Gang boss Barry Young was caught bang-to-rights when gardaí recovered an extraordinary 16,000 unencrypted messages from the WhatsApp of his own phone.
The 37-year-old, who is currently in custody in Portlaoise Prison, pleaded guilty to directing a criminal organisation at the Special Criminal Court this week after a lengthy career as a significant gangland player.
Young, from Sligo, admitted to running a crime gang between 2019 and 2022 within and outside the State. The drug dealer had also lived between the north west and Spain.
The State is picking up his legal bills and has agreed to cover the costs of a report from a counsellor he had been seeing before going into custody.
Young has been identified by the PSNI as being part of a plot to kill notorious Dublin gangster Robbie Lawlor, who was murdered in Ardoyne in Belfast in April 2020.
Detectives in the North believe that accused Adrian Holland met with Young at the Sligo Park Hotel to arrange the hit which took place 19 days later.
CCTV later obtained by police shows Young arriving at the hotel after Holland’s car broke down. Young was seen on camera bringing in a pump for one of Holland’s tyres.
Holland had been staying at the hotel and the duo had a Coke at the bar and chatted with gardaí who were there to use the gym before Young and his girlfriend drove off.
During a bail hearing in Belfast for Holland’s co-accused, Patrick Teer, prosecutors said the murder was commissioned at the meeting on March 16.
They said that Teer played an instrumental role in preparing for the assassination and helped dispose of evidence later.
Lawlor was shot dead outside Holland’s grandmother’s home on Etna Drive, according to police, having gone there following a pre-arranged appointment to collect cash.
Teer and Holland were charged as part of a joint enterprise based on their alleged involvement in events surround the killing. Both have denied those roles in the killing.
In what has become an extremely unusual case, a court has been told how officers arrested Ger Dundon, his nephew Levi Killeen and Quincy Bramble, shortly after the murder.
However, they freed all three, Killeen unconditionally, and let them leave the jurisdiction. Gardaí later nabbed two female associates of the Dundon gang collecting a large sum of cash believed to have been payment for their role in a double cross.
Dundon and Bramble later showed up in the UK when they were arrested along with Lawlor’s arch rival Cornelius Price during a kidnap. Bramble was acquitted but Dundon was found guilty for his role in the extortion attempt while Price became terminally ill as he awaited trial and died in recent weeks in the UK.
The PSNI are adamant that the Dundons had nothing to do with the crime despite the fact that defence barrister Joe Brolly has named the trio in court as luring Lawlor to is death.
Brolly said in court that teenager Killeen surpised Lawlor as he knocked on the door at Etna Drive and ran at him from inside the house, shooting him.
Barry Young has had long-time connections with Northern Ireland drug dealers and has been based in Spain for years organising shipments of drugs and weapons to his own network and those across the border.
He is a convicted drug dealer and regarded as one of the biggest players on the drug scene outside Ireland with ties into major gangs including the ‘Mr Big’ network in Dublin.
Young muscled in on the lucrative turf of Sligo, Donegal and Leitrim after the demise of the rival Irwin gang.
They were put out of business when Patrick Irwin landed a seven-year sentence for cocaine dealing. Young and his network of dealers took control and even managed to bribe a disgraced garda to leak sensitive information over a five-month period.
Former Garda Jimell Henry was jailed for 18 months after she accessed the force’s Pulse system from her base in Sligo and passed on ‘details to Young’s crew in Sligo. A court heard she had become compromised by a drug habit.
Young was a close associate of Mark ‘Guinea Pig’ Desmond for years and the West Dublin enforcer moved to Sligo to work as a heavy before his murder in a park in Lucan in December 2016.
It is understood that Young had worked hard to stay at arm’s length from the law, rarely staying in the one place for very long and using counter-surveillance techniques.
But like many wealthy criminals before him he got lazy and thought that he was untouchable, resorting to doing business on his ordinary smartphone through WhatsApp.
It is understood that the weight of evidence against him sparked him to plead guilty to the heavy charge which can carry up to life imprisonment. He will be sentenced in May.
Meanwhile, details of the meeting which the PSNI claim was the arrangements to kill Robbie Lawlor are expected to be challenged in court in the north.
Young has never been arrested or charged in relation to any role around the Lawlor murder.
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