Gangster Barry Young ran 20-man drugs gang but was wracked with ‘anxiety’ and feared for his life, court told
• 8h ago
Gangster Barry Young ran a drug dealing gang with 20 members that sold massive amounts of cannabis all over the west of Ireland.
Details of the Sligo criminal’s operation emerged at the Special Criminal Court where he had pleaded guilty to directing a criminal organisation.
The garda investigation into the mob’s activities resulted in €500,000 worth of drugs and €110,000 cash being seized and 16 arrests.
The 37-year-old with an address in Sligo previously admitted the charge at the non-jury court that he led a crime gang between October 4 2019 and January 15 2022.
The three-judge panel said they will deliver their sentence on 31 July after hearing the evidence against him today.
Although Young is considered a major player in Ireland’s underworld the court heard he was wracked with anxiety, feared for his life over debts due to other criminals.
While it emerged that he sent a man described in phone messages as a ‘mental headerball’ to smash up a house over a €500 debt, he was sometimes unable to leave his own home because of his anxiety.
He was caught after gardaí recovered thousands of messages from his phone which revealed his extensive involvement in crime.
They included ‘damage limitation exercises’ after gardaí intercepted one of his couriers in the west of Ireland and and also messages directing another to pick up drugs and cash for collection and delivery.
Detective Inspector Ray Mulderrig said that the investigation of the phone messages revealed how Young was at the top of the gang which was divided into cells, each with their own leadership.
He said Young’s outfit was one of four gangs operating in Sligo who answered to a layer of criminals above them based in Dublin.
They co-operated with each other and could call on outside contacts for services such as enforcing debts.
Messages found on Young’s phone included one case where another dealer asked for help in collecting a debt.
Young told the man not to the tell the ‘mental headerball’ sent as an enforcer that it was over €500 or he would just laugh and that it was now more than just about money.
Photos of smashed up home were later sent to show the acts of intimidation had been carried out.
DI Mulderrig said that using such violence was Young’s “least preferred” option and would rather negotiate the repayment of debts.
Evidence was also heard how Young had no trappings of wealth, was driven around in non-descript cars and had been looking for a way out of drug dealing.
His defence counsel handed in letters from Young and said that since 2018 Young had been trying to get away from the situation he was in and had considered “ending it all.”
He said the day he was arrested in January 2022 was “a happy day” and he thanked the arresting officers.
Young has 81 previous convictions that includes one for drugs possession that led to a six year sentence and two others for assault causing harm.
It was previously revealed how Young had also been identified by the PSNI as being part of a plot to killer Dublin gangster Robbie Lawlor, who was murdered in Ardoyne in Belfast in April 2020.
Detectives in the North believe that accused Adrian Holland met with Young at the Sligo Park Hotel to arrange the hit which took place 19 days later.
Barry Young has had long-time connections with Northern Ireland drug dealers and has been based in Spain organising shipments of drugs and weapons to his own network and those across the border.
Young muscled in on the lucrative turf of Sligo, Donegal and Leitrim after the demise of the rival Irwin gang.
They were put out of business when Patrick Irwin landed a seven-year sentence for cocaine dealing.
Young and his network of dealers took control and even managed to bribe a disgraced garda to leak sensitive information over a five-month period.
Former Garda Jimell Henry was jailed for 18 months after she accessed the force’s Pulse system from her base in Sligo and passed on ‘details to Young’s crew in Sligo.
Young was a close associate of Mark ‘Guinea Pig’ Desmond for years and the West Dublin enforcer moved to Sligo to work as a heavy before his murder in a park in Lucan in December 2016.
He has never been arrested or charged in relation to any role around the Lawlor murder.