Mob on collision course with dissidents over deal with Dublin cartel
A crime gang known as the Tarmacers has taken over the cocaine trade in Belfast.
Led by a mixed martial artist, the mob is now working directly for the Dublin-based Kinahan drugs cartel. The Tarmacers’ boss travelled to Dubai earlier this month — where international drug baron Daniel Kinahan and his lieutenants live — to seal the deal and celebrate.
He has since let it be known that his gang is an extension of the Kinahan cartel and its muscle in Belfast. Cocaine sent to the city from Dublin is now distributed to other dealers via the Tarmacers.
“The Tarmacers are now working directly for the Kinahans,” an underworld source told Sunday Life. “They have also put it up to republicans by saying they will not be paying anyone protection money. The gang has access to guns and have said they will use them.”
The Kinahans replaced their previous link-man in Belfast with the Tarmacers over his failure to pay a £500,000 debt for 20 kilos of cocaine.
Gunmen called to his home in a plush Lisburn development last month to collect the cash, however he fled through the back door fearing for his life.
Originally from east Belfast, he is believed to have blown the money at the bookies with other criminals nicknaming him ‘Bet365’ after the online gambling site.
Also hampering the dealer’s ability to find the £500,000 is the fact that he is currently on bail facing serious charges.
The Tarmacers had been working for him, but have taken over as the Kinahans’ main Belfast dealers after the recent Dubai meeting. A strong bond exists between senior members of the gang as they come from the same west Belfast family.
Operation Venetic — the PSNI and National Crime Agency (NCA) investigation into the Encrochat encrypted phone network — also assisted the Tarmacers’ rise to the top.
It led to dozens of alleged major drug dealers throughout Northern Ireland being charged with serious offences. This allowed the Tarmacers to take control of their rivals’ rackets as they were either languishing on remand in jail or having to comply with strict bail conditions.
Our crime source added: “The first thing the Tarmacers did when they took over was tell a drug dealer who went to England after being threatened by the Continuity IRA that he is free to return.
“He recently left his home in the Lenadoon area of west Belfast when the Contos demanded £10,000 from him, but the Tarmacers have assured him that he will be safe when he comes back and that he can start selling cocaine for them.
“That will cause tension with the Contos who extort drug dealers, but the Tarmacers don’t care because they have more members and are better armed.”
The INLA is also heavily involved in taxing drug dealers in Belfast and in 2018, working with dissident gang ONH, murdered cocaine baron JD Donegan as he sat in his Porsche super-car outside his son’s grammar school.
The republican gang’s leaders in west Belfast are understood to be keeping a close eye on the Tarmacers who they view as being ripe for extortion.
What has held the INLA back is the drug dealers’ close ties to the Kinahan cartel and their readiness to strike back if attacked.