‘Mr Big of Limerick crime’ arrested in London

LIMERICK’S drugs gangs have suffered another major blow with the arrest in London of the man believed to be the city’s Mr Big in crime.

He was found carrying a handgun and is in custody.

He appeared in court in London last Friday where he applied for bail. Two senior detectives from Limerick attended the hearing, which was adjourned for three weeks.

A senior garda source in Limerick last night described this man as “the Mr Big of Limerick crime”.

In his 40s, his arrest came within days of the arrest of his close associate, former Limerick publican Jim O’Brien, who is being held in Belgium after a joint operation between the gardaí and police in Belgium and Holland.

Along with a West Clare businessman, O’Brien and Mr Big are suspected of forming a crime triumvirate which controls a multi-million euro international drugs conveyer belt.

The gang channelled cocaine and cannabis from Africa and South America, via Spain and Holland, into this country.

The crime boss is believed to have ordered the murder of security man Brian Fitzgerald, whose killer, James Cahill, was jailed last week for life after admitting the murder.

Gardaí believe Mr Big ordered the murder of Mr Fitzgerald when he complained to gardaí that the crime boss threatened him because he would not permit drugs to be sold in Docs nightclub, where he was head of security.

Mr Fitzgerald withdrew the complaint, but it’s believed Mr Big ordered the murder because he feared Mr Fitzgerald’s evidence could lead to the activation of a suspended sentence hanging over him.

The West Clare businessman is suspected of hiring Cahill for a €10,000 fee to carry out the murder.

Cahill has now offered to grass on a number of top crime lords in the Limerick area in return for protection for himself and his family.

Cahill is believed to have gone to a house owned by Jim O’Brien after the murder, before fleeing to Britain later that night.

The murder weapon, an automatic handgun, was found in the river Mulcair opposite O’Brien’s house.

O’Brien fled to Spain after he was linked to the murder of crime boss Kieran Keane.

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