BRUTAL punishments for those unable to pay drug debts are on the rise, with one man recently subjected to a crucifixion-style nail attack.
Drug gangs have seen their incomes hit by the recession and the decline in disposable income for recreational drugs, particularly cocaine.
The recent rise of head shops — many of which are now banned — also hit dealers in the pocket.
The crucifixion-style attack has underlined garda fears that drug gangs are now resorting to ever more brutal means to collect debts and protect their income sources.
Limerick gangs now have special ‘heavy squads’ dedicated to collecting debts from allied gangs throughout Munster, the Irish Independent has learned.
One garda source said: “The violence being meted out has gone up almost in direct comparison with the way cocaine sales have fallen over the past 18 months to two years.
“Money is power to these gangs and they will stop at nothing to protect their incomes. Collecting their debts through fear and terror is part of that.”