Mo go zone | 

Drug lord Mo Courtney told to ‘pack up’ as his gang cash in on heroin scourge

Courtney is a hate figure on in Belfast’s Lower Shankill area, with the majority of hard-working residents resenting him for lining his pockets from their misery.

Loyalist William "Mo" Courtney arrives at Laganside Court in Belfast. Pic Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker

Paula MackinSunday World

Mo Courtney is under pressure to quit the Shankill after it was revealed one of his most trusted ‘lieutenants’ was caught with a substantial amount of heroin.

The Sunday World can reveal the man was caught in possession of the drug which the community refuse to accept on their streets.

Disgusted and terrified members of the Shankill area have taken to social media to expose Courtney and his gang’s involvement in the heroin trade, branding them liars as they have continued to deny any involvement in plying the deadly drug.

Courtney, who runs a network of drug dealers, has always insisted he and his UDA cronies would never sell heroin.

However, the arrest of one of his main dealers for possession of the drug has caused outrage.

Courtney is a hate figure on the Lower Shankill, with the majority of hard-working residents resenting him for lining his pockets from their misery.

Cocaine and cannabis is sold on a daily basis – however, it appears Courtney and his gang have gone too far this time by bringing the soul-destroying drug onto the streets of the loyalist enclave.

Calls for Courtney to be kicked out of the area are being voiced by concerned parents who are sick of their children being exploited.

Not only does Courtney and Co sell their drugs to schoolchildren, they also recruit them to sell drugs to pay off their debts or face punishment beatings.

For almost 40 years, Courtney has held this area to ransom but sources say this latest development is too much to stomach.

“Heroin is a no, no. Mo Courtney has gone too far this time. For years he has destroyed this area, making money off other people’s weakness.

“Ruining lives, shootings, punishments beatings – you name it he has done it – but there is no way this community is going to sit back and watch our kids become heroin addicts just so he can make a few more quid,” said one source.

“We want him out, off the road. We have put up with enough of his blatant criminality. Every day we see kids go by on bikes selling his s**t but this is a whole new level.

“Heroin – there is no way we are going to sit back and see this area become one of those drug estates like Ballymena or Dublin, kids lying on the streets with a needle hanging out of their arm,” the source toldSunday World.

The supply and demand for heroin in Belfast has been increasing in recent years, however there was always an unwritten rule among paramilitaries that ‘smack’ was a drug they would never touch.

This rule appears to have been broken and Courtney had full knowledge that some dealers working for him were branching out.

“Courtney is trying to say it had nothing to do with him but nothing happens with his boys without him knowing.

“He’s just sorry they got caught and their plans to start flooding the area with heroin was exposed because the cops got there first,” another resident told Sunday World.

“We have put up with enough, it’s time for Mo to go. We can’t have him about this place anymore for the sake of our kids.”

A notice posted on social media has been shared hundreds of times.

It reads: “Seems Mo Courtney and the West Belfast UDA have stooped to a new low this week... The time is now to make a stand and get this guy out once and for all before his heroin business takes off and many more families and children’s lives are ruined.”

The PSNI stated detectives from the Paramilitary Crime Task Force (PCTF) and officers from the Belfast District Support Team conducted a number of searches at addresses in south Belfast last Friday.

One flat was searched by PCTF detectives targeting West Belfast UDA drugs criminality, and quantities of suspected class A and B drugs were recovered along with a sum of cash and a mobile telephone. A 39-year-old man was arrested on suspicion of a number of offences including possession of class A and B drugs with intent to supply and possessing criminal property.

Three other properties in Raby Street were searched by District Support Team officers, assisted by officers from Central, Oldpark and Lisburn Road Neighbourhood Teams, where further quantities of suspected class A and B drugs were recovered.

Three men, aged 19, 41 and 62 and a 50-year-old woman were arrested on suspicion of a number of drugs-related offences. Approximately £6,000 in cash, £2,000 of suspected heroin, £1,500 of suspected cocaine and £2,000 of suspected cannabis was recovered.

Today's Headlines

More Northern Ireland

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

WatchMore Videos