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'reward' UDA terror chief brings inner circle away to Mexico for drugs-fuelled knees-up

Those who were invited on the trip were sworn to secrecy and instructed not to take pictures while on the Latin American jolly

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A UDA mural on the Newtownards road in Belfast (PA)

A UDA mural on the Newtownards road in Belfast (PA)

A UDA mural on the Newtownards road in Belfast (PA)

Beleagured mobster Gary Fisher is under fire for whisking his inner circle away on a sun-kissed drug-fuelled jolly to Mexico.

South East Antrim UDA terror chief Fisher and his band of merry men jetted to Latin America for a week-long party as a ‘reward’ for their loyalty.

The Sunday World understands the notoriously secretive Fisher sprung the surprise junket days before departure and all those lucky enough to be given a ticket were sworn to secrecy.

They were also barred from any social media activity while poolside at their luxury hotel and they were instructed that no pictures were to be taken or shared with anyone, even close family.

Fisher is obsessive about his privacy and paranoid about details of his movements being made public.

It’s not clear which resort hosted the UDA rabble but sources in their Carrickfergus heartland said the purpose of the trip was to party.

“There will have been no shortage of drugs and you can only imagine what goes on an all expenses lads trip to the sun,” said our source.

He said Fisher was picking up the tab, but in reality the cash has come from SEA’s drug cash pot.

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Murdered loyalist John 'Grugg' Gregg, former leader of the UDA 's South East Antrim Brigade, at a loyalist rally in Belfast.

Murdered loyalist John 'Grugg' Gregg, former leader of the UDA 's South East Antrim Brigade, at a loyalist rally in Belfast.

Murdered loyalist John 'Grugg' Gregg, former leader of the UDA 's South East Antrim Brigade, at a loyalist rally in Belfast.

It is understood the boys touched down back home last night, swapping the sun drenched beaches of Mexico for the freezing windswept streets of Carrick and Rathcoole.

The trans-Atlantic jolly has hit a bum note with SEA members left shivering in the winter weather.

The trip coincided with the anniversary of the murder in February 2003 of former SEA chief John ‘Grug Gregg.

The revered terror chief’s death has traditionally been marked with a gathering of his unit’s men in the Rathcoole estate in the north of the city. This year the organisation’s leadership were sipping pina coladas on sun loungers 8,000 miles away.

One veteran who was close Gregg said members are disgusted.

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“This will not go well for Gary,” he said. Gregg was so well respected, many of the older men remain deeply loyal to him and his memory, in their eyes this was disrespect.”

Ironically Fisher was close to his old boss and it is understood he dressed the trip up as a tribute to Gregg, but it has backfired.

UDA members gathered last week to remember Gregg.

“Every year we gather, it is an order, you have no choice,” said our source.

“In past years we had to turn up in suits, there would be a show of strength and then the boys would have a few beers, it was our way of showing respect and that’s the way the UDA do it, not going on some narco package holiday to Mexico.”

It is not clear how many were on the trip, there are five Battalion Commanders and then there are area commanders covering Carrick, neighbouring Larne and Rathcoole so there may have been as many as 10 enjoying the best Mexico can offer.

Sources have also indicated that Fisher had an ulterior motive for organising the jaunt. It is well known the under pressure crime boss wants to get out of the drugs business and stand down as Brigadier.

His leadership has been undermined in recent months with a committee of veterans taking over the day to day running of the crime operation.

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Johnny Adair

Johnny Adair

Johnny Adair

Insiders say Fisher is Brigadier in name only and his being kept in place as the fall guy amid increasing attention on SEA from the Paramilitary Crime Task Force.

None of the current commanders are willing to take over the mantle, with Fisher’s inner circle rejecting the job when in years ago there would have been a queue round the block for a job that brings with it the promise of significant personal wealth.

“They’ve seen what the last few years have done to Fisher, he’s a paranoid wreck and looks terrible.The pressure the cops have put him under is unreal.“

Sources say getting the commanders away was an opportunity for Fisher to gauge their loyalty to him.

“Gary is totally paranoid he will be using this trip to see who he can trust and who he can’t, he’s not a big party animal so while the boys are getting off their heads he’ll be watching and listening.

“Either way you look at it, Gary is in a bad place, it’s like he’s being held against his will and he doesn’t now who to trust.”

Former brigadier John Gregg was shot dead as he returned to Belfast from a Rangers match in Glasgow. He was shot as he was driven off the ferry in Belfast’s docks.

He was the victim of a personal vendetta with the killers coming from Johnny Adair’s notorious UFF C Company based in the lower Shankill.

Richard.sullivan@sundayworld.com

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