| 11.9°C Dublin

'Fatso' nabbed Peter 'Fatso' Mitchell and his accomplices smuggled €2.1m of coke in five-month period

Former Gilligan thug Mitchell acted as 'supplier' to gang who used 'Avengers superhero symbol' to identify their cocaine

Close

Mitchell was caught with 3kgs of cocaine hidden in nappies in the back of his car

Mitchell was caught with 3kgs of cocaine hidden in nappies in the back of his car

Mitchell was caught with 3kgs of cocaine hidden in nappies in the back of his car

Former Gilligan gang-thug Peter 'Fatso' Mitchell acted as a 'supplier' to a drugs gang who used the 'Avengers superhero symbol' to identify their cocaine, as they smuggled €2.1 million of the drug through Wales over a five-month period.

But Welsh cops smashed the gang and arrested Mitchell - who was jailed for 10 years on Friday - after EncroChat phones used by the mob were hacked by police.

Mitchell is one of the most notorious criminals in Ireland's gangland history and was key figure in gangster John Gilligan's drugs gang. He fled Ireland after the savage murder of crime reporter Veronica in 1996 as Gardaí closed in on the mob.

UK police estimate that Mitchell (52) and his crew transported a mammoth 42kg of the Class A drug to south Wales for onward supply to local dealers and users.

Mitchell's role in the drug trafficking conspiracy ended when, on July 7, 2020, he was stopped while driving from Bradford to south Wales with 3kgs of cocaine, valued at in excess of €130,000 hidden in nappies in the back seat.

Prosecutor Ieuan Rees said police investigations linked Mitchell with 7kg of cocaine supplied to one of the gang, for which he was paid at least €305,000.

Mitchell will now serve a minimum of five years behind bars before being considered for release on licence.

His lawyer had argued his position in the conspiracy was "one of the ranks rather than a commissioned officer".

Close

Peter ‘Fatso’ Mitchell has a long history of importing drugs

Peter ‘Fatso’ Mitchell has a long history of importing drugs

Peter ‘Fatso’ Mitchell has a long history of importing drugs

 

Yesterday, the brother of Veronica Guerin, Jimmy, told the Sunday World "We are now witnessing the end for what remains of the so-called John Gilligan gang. Unfortunately, what is replacing them is even worse."

On Friday, the details of how Mitchell and two UK associates flooded Wales with over €2 million worth of cocaine over a five-month-period in 2020 emerged at their sentencing hearing at Swansea Crown Court.

Ieuan Rees, prosecuting, told Swansea Crown Court the conspiracy involved the supply of "wholesale quantities" of cocaine to south Wales.

Sunday World Newsletter

Sign up for the latest news and updates

This field is required This field is required

Close

John Gilligan

John Gilligan

John Gilligan

 

The Swansea end of the operation was run by two UK nationals, Nathan Webber (28) and James Gallagher (36), who each had their own customer base and "up-stream" suppliers, but who would also help the other man out in securing the best deals.

The court heard that between March and July 2020 the pair sourced an estimated 42kg of cocaine from their England-based suppliers, a quantity of drugs worth up to €2.1 million.

One of the suppliers was 52-year-old Mitchell, who would drive consignments to Swansea from his home in Bradford.

Close

The haul of cocaine found in nappies in Mitchell’s vehicle

The haul of cocaine found in nappies in Mitchell’s vehicle

The haul of cocaine found in nappies in Mitchell’s vehicle

 

The prosecutor said the operation came to light after law enforcement agencies got access to a wealth of messages on the previously secure EncroChat phone network.

Analysis of the communications showed regular contact between Webber, Gallagher and Mitchell - along with contact with other users yet to be identified - as they discussed drugs purchases and prices per kilo, along with delivery details, including to addresses in Clydach, Morriston, and Port Talbot.

One of the messages referred to dealers in Colombia who had 100kg of coke "ready to go".

Close

Terrence Mills

Terrence Mills

Terrence Mills

 

The court heard that some of the packages of cocaine shipped to Swansea were stamped with the "Avengers" superhero logo as a way of identifying them.

As the drugs flowed into Swansea during the conspiracy hundreds of thousands of pounds in payments went the other way.

On a number of occasions, a TM Removals and Logistics van was used to make runs from Liverpool to Swansea and back.

This van was owned and driven by Liverpudlian Terrence Mills.

Close

Nathan Webber

Nathan Webber

Nathan Webber

 

The court heard that in EncroChat conversations - which 61-year-old Mills was not party to - there was talk about having furniture in the back of the van which would "look good" if anyone were to open the doors.

Mill's van was put under surveillance, and on June 8 he was arrested driving on the A465 Heads of the Valleys Road near Hirwaun as he drove to Liverpool from Swansea.

In the van was a black rucksack containing €183,000. Fingerprints on the bag were found to belong to Webber.

Then, on July 7, Mitchell was arrested when his vehicle was stopped on the M4 motorway near Bridgend.

Close

Peter ‘Fatso’ Mitchell

Peter ‘Fatso’ Mitchell

Peter ‘Fatso’ Mitchell

 

Webber and Gallagher were themselves arrested shortly afterwards, and in Webber's house officers found €30,000 in cash and €3,600 worth of silver bullion, while a search of Gallagher's house uncovered a suitcase in the attic containing €120,000.

Nathan Webber, of Clydach Road, Ynysforgan, Swansea; James Lee Gallagher, of Carmarthen Road, Fforestfach, Swansea; Peter Mitchell, of Bradford but with fixed abode; and Terrence James Mills, of Wellington Street, Garston, Liverpool, had all previously pleaded guilty to conspiracy to supply cocaine when they appeared in the dock.

Andrew Taylor, for Mitchell, said the defendant was from Ireland - where his wife and family still live - but he had been living in Bradford in Yorkshire at the time of the offending.

Webber, Gallagher, and Mitchell were each sentenced to 10 years in prison. With a 20 percent discount for his guilty plea, Mills was sentenced to four years and 10 months in prison.

Download the Sunday World app

Now download the free app for all the latest Sunday World News, Crime, Irish Showbiz and Sport. Available on Apple and Android devices


Top Videos





Available now on Apple Podcasts, Spotify or Google Podcasts.

Privacy