A drugs haul, worth in the region of €850,000, discovered in a house in Resika, Kilcommon, Thurles, Co. Tipperary yesterday, is now believed to have links to the Limerick City, jailed, Collopy criminal gang.
One male suspect, aged 45, living in St Mary’s Park, Limerick city, was arrested as part of this planned Garda operation, and is understood to have close links with Brian and Kieran Collopy.
The suspect is still being questioned today, at Thurles Garda Station, under Section 2 of the Criminal Justice (Drug Trafficking Act) 1996, latter Act which allows Gardaí to question suspects for up to seven days without charge.
The Limerick City Collopy criminal gang first got involved in the drug trade sometime in the late 1990’s. The family, also from St Mary’s Park, became involved with the Keane gang headed up by brothers Christy and Kieran, who were already operating a lucrative drug enterprise.
The Collopy gang are understood to have located a consignment of drugs then owned by the Keanes, which the Collopy gang then took possession of and independently sold. Despite their anger the Keane gang came to the realisation that the Collopy gang had an exceptional talent of quickly moving illicit drug products onto the streets. Instead of chastising the Collopy’s for their actions; instead they enlisted the Collopy’s to assist directly using their realised talents.
In January 2003, Kieran Keane was kidnapped, tortured and shot dead. Christy Keane, would have better luck, going on to serve part of a ten year jail sentence for possession of cannabis valued at €250,000, while surviving a second attempt on his life in 2015.
At the height of the Limerick feud, the Keane’s had fought a turf war with the McCarthy’s from Moyross and their cousins, the Dundon’s, latter who operated in Ballinacurra Weston. The Collopy family appear to have stepped back from this feud, concentrating solely on selling drugs to old established wholesalers. With Christy now in jail and Kieran deceased, the Collopy gang took advantage of this lucrative vacuum naturally created in St Mary’s Park.
After years of evading all prosecution Brian and Kieran Collopy were each jailed for eight years last July; both pleading guilty to possessing nearly €40,000 worth of heroin, for sale or supply, on December 15th, 2015.
On an earlier date both men, had been observed associating with Dublin drug lord George “Penguin” Mitchell, at a Supermacs outlet in Portlaoise, Co. Laois. Both had been under strict Garda surveillance.
Gardaí now believe, that despite being resident in jail; the Collopy’s continue to run their lucrative illicit drugs business, directly from behind bars.