A new crime figure has emerged in Limerick.
He is in his early 20s and already controls a €15m-a-year drugs business which covers the Mid-West and wider Munster area.
Networks formerly controlled by the city’s long established gangs, many of whose members are now in jail or in custody, are now under his control.
Former detective Sean Lynch, chairman of the Limerick city and county joint policing committee said he has been shocked to learn of this new drugs boss.
“He has served jail sentences for serious crime carried out when he was in his teens. Now in his early 20s I am reliably told he is bringing in up to two kilos of heroin into the city each week,” said the Fianna Fáil councillor.
One kilogram of heroin has a street value of €150,000.
“Former senior crime figures, who are not in custody, now work for this young man,” said Mr Lynch.
“He has been involved in at least one very violent incident as a teenager in which another teenager died. This fellow is now one of the biggest drugs figures outside of Dublin.”
He said that while great work has been done in cracking down on drugs gangs in Limerick, this work is now being undermined by a lack of resources.
“While many are behind bars, this guy has now control of a massive drugs operation and huge money is involved.
“At present, the Limerick garda divisional drugs squad is made up of a detective sergeant and five detectives. And to make matters worse, there is no female in the squad as those who were there have moved on with promotion. They have to cover an area stretching from Abbeyfeale on the Kerry border right over to Oola near Tipperary town and that includes the city.”
Mr Lynch said this new drugs boss is amassing huge sums from vulnerable families trying to pay off the debts of their sons or daughters.
“There are unknown numbers of families who are being made targets of extortion. This guy preys on a vulnerable young people from good backgrounds, gets them into drugs, gets them hooked. As the habit worsens into addiction, his dealers give their victim or client credit and things then spiral out of all control.
“All of a sudden the dealer comes looking for payment, but the amount demanded is a multiple of the amount owed. But families fear these people and pay off the money to try and get free of these people.
“The problem is compounded in rural areas, where families in these circumstances have no local garda they know to turn to.”
Mr Lynch said the death of Cork student Alex Ryan from the hallucinogenic drug, N-bomb, will be a main item on the next meeting of the Limerick joint policing committee.
“Limerick has a huge student population, and we have to ensure everything is being done to prevent another such tragedy,” he said.
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