Our Top Stories from 2020 | 

How we exposed Ireland's new heroin kingpin

The stories we brought you in 2020. Our investigation revealed Ballyfermot-based gang,‘The Family’, as the main suppliers of heroin throughout Dublin and Cork.

Brian Grendon

Nicola Tallant

The mob known as ‘The Family’ have become part of Ireland’s next Cartel after growing at an unprecedented rate since the toppling of the Kinahan crime empire.

The Ballyfermot based gang headed by convicted drug dealer Brian Grendon specialise in ‘smack’ but are also selling cocaine, ketamine and MDMA.

They are closely associated with a major drug supplier operating as a ‘legitimate’ businessman involved in the fitness industry and with 'Dee Dee' O’Driscoll who the Criminal Assets Bureau described as the ‘leader of a criminal organisation involved in the large scale distribution of heroin, cocaine and cannabis resin.”

‘The Family’ are also known to associate closely with members of George ‘The Penguin’ Mitchell’s Irish operation and like the crime Kingpin do not believe that feuding is good for business.

Despite shying away from murderous feuds like his contemporaries fighting for cocaine turf, Brian Grendon is known to be one of the most feared criminals in West Dublin.

A Sunday World investigation today reveals how ‘The Family’ are now the main suppliers of heroin to Cork along with a growing turf stretching out across the city from Blanchardstown to Drimnagh.

Gardai believe that the ‘New Cartel’ have their own drug supply routes and deal directly with Turkish criminals avoiding the Netherlands and Spain.

One of their main suppliers is suspected of being behind a massive haul of more than 670 kilos of heroin discovered on the German and Polish border last year.

The haul, which originated in Afghanistan, was said to be worth more than $50 million and had started it’s journey in Kyrgystan where it was disguised in a truck load of Turkish sweets.

‘The Family’ are understood to be shifting upwards of 50 kilos of heroin a month and supplying major gangs throughout Dublin and south to Cork but business has exploded of late since they made key alignments with other major gangs to form the ‘New Cartel.’

'Dee Dee' O'Driscoll

Brian Grendon is 42 years of age and is notoriously, private shunning the use of social media. He is a clean living and highly paranoid checking his vehicles and premises for bugging devices on a regular bases.

It is understood he trusts a handful of key lieutenants who have been close to him for years and who operate as his right hand men. His brother Philip is one of his closest confidents.

Gardai believe that in the past decade Brian Grendon he has become the most significant heroin dealer in Ireland after he concentrated on keeping at arms length from his supplies following a prison sentence.

He was convicted in 2002 after a court heard he was caught after taking a black plastic bag of heroin from another man believed to be working for Jeffrey Mitchell.

At the time ‘The Family’ were buying from Mitchell who famously fell out with the violent ‘Westies’ mob.

Grendon was jailed with one of his senior associates, Brian McDermott, who remains a significant member of his inner circle. In court the then Detective Sergeant Greg Sheehan said both gangs involved in the operation had used fatal shootings in the past on anyone who compromised their business.

After his release from prison he vowed that he would never spend another day behind bars and set himself up as a car dealer.

A company linked to him would later be raided by the Criminal Assets Bureau in a probe into the laundering of drug funds.

Intent on staying out of jail, Grendon set up a new modus operandi on his release when it came to selling ‘The Family’ wares.

He set up a particular delivery and collection service using green areas in Ballyfermot.

There he had young associates number lampposts and would send one of his senior lieutenants to co-ordinated the collection of bags of smack by buyers who would be directed to different labelled posts for their supplies.

Over the past ten years members of his mob have been collated repeatedly travelling over and back to Turkey but avoiding flights to the Netherlands and Spain.

‘The Family’ are understood to have developed a large money laundering wing over the past decade too as their wealth grew and are now suspected of profiting to the tune of an enormous €20 million a year from smack alone.

But their activities have made them the top targets for both the CAB and the Drugs and Organised Crime Bureau in Ireland and they are expected to face an enormous crackdown on their activities in the coming months.

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