Martin “Marlo” Hyland was born and raised in Cabra, Dublin, Ireland. As a teenager he became involved with burglary, car theft and robbery, he led a gang of young criminals from the Cabra area. In 1986, an eighteen-year-old Martin was sent to prison for conspiracy to commit robbery, burglary, malicious damage and car theft. He would make his way to become one of Ireland’s biggest drug dealers and gun smugglers.

After his release from prison, Hyland became involved in drug dealing, he moved into the big league of crime when he became associated with P.J. Judge or The Psycho as he was known, he a major drug dealer and gang leader from Finglas in North Dublin. Judge taught Matin Hyland the power of fear, and he followed in the Psycho’s footsteps by terrorising other criminals with violent punishment for even minor infringements of the criminal code and death for the more serious breaches. Judge however was shot dead outside the Royal Oak pub in 1996, believed to have been shot by the IRA.

Martin Hyland soon stepped up to replace Judge, controlling a large gang of drug dealers and armed robbers from Cabra, Finglas and Ballymun. The began with cash-in-transit (armored truck) robberies and graduated to drug trafficking in the late Nineties. He built up contacts in Spain and Holland and traveled there frequently. He organised the shipments, paying in cash that he had smuggled out of Ireland.

In September 1996, when construction worker Michael Brady was shot dead, Hyland was arrested and questioned, though never charged. Brady was once married to Hyland’s sister, Julia, but in December 1985 raped and murdered her. Brady was jailed for 10 years but was shot after his release, in a drive-by shooting as he drove home from a soccer match.

Having been unemployed since 1993, he continued to collect his weekly Social Welfare payments from the state but was able to provide cover for his lifestyle through money he had won in the lottery 250,000 and 90,000 from suing the Sunday World newspaper in 1997 for describing as a gangster.

By the 2000’s Martin Hyland and his gang were involved in large shipments of cannabis, cocaine, ecstasy and heroin as well as VAT fraud, car theft, armed robbery, extortion and the supply of firearms. They supplied guns to one of the gangs involved in the Crumlin-Drimnagh feud, they also supplied guns to the notorious McCarthy-Dundon gang who were heavily involved in the Limerick gang feud.

“When somebody rings up and says can you get me a gun, he would organise it. He would get the gun back to them. He would have been in a position to source firearms for other people to commit other crimes,” said a Garda source.

Between 2002 and 2004 the gang was involved in a spate of robberies of security vans delivering money to ATM bank machines in Dublin. In a ten-month period alone, between October 2003 to July 2004, they got away with an estimated €3 million cash.

He was the kingpin in a major drugs wholesale business. He ordered massive shipments of drugs from dealers based in Spain and then got his most trusted gang members to pay for the deals. Once in Ireland, the drugs would be collected from drop-off points by Hyland’s men and delivered to houses in counties Dublin and Meath. Cannabis, cocaine and heroin would be distributed to dealers in Dublin or sold to gangs in Limerick, Cork, Meath and Louth.

By November 2005 everything would change due to the amount of gangland murders, shootings, beatings and armed robberies, the Government announced plans for a major operation, Operation Anvil which would target the various gangs in Dublin and Limerick. Operation Anvil was the beginning of the end for Martin Hyland, the Gardai (Irish Police) realised that Hylands gang were so big that they needed to set up an operation just to target that gang, it was called Operation Oak.

Throughout 2006 the Gardai had amazing success in disrupting Hylands operation, many of Hyland’s associates were arrested for very serious crimes and facing trial for drugs, firearms and other offences. They were stopped driving cars loaded with drugs, their homes subjected to dawn raids and intercepted on their way to robberies.

When any of Martin “Marlo” Hyland’s drug shipments were intercepted by the Garda, there would be follow-up searches on the many houses he owned in west Dublin. And it wasn’t unusual for gardaí carrying out the raids to find Hyland sitting at the kitchen table with his associates, presumably trying to work out how the operation had gone wrong or if they had a mole in the camp. If Hyland was in a house, you could be guaranteed there were no drugs or weapons there.

In all, more than 30 people were arrested in north and west Dublin, 24 of them were brought to court and charged. All but one were released on bail. According to Garda sources, there was resentment and bad feeling within the gang as Hyland’s fellow gangsters began to wonder why Hyland had avoided arrest or prosecution.

“What was happening was that Hyland saw himself as being invincible. As people saw that he could be caught, and that people working with him were being caught, he lost his grasp on the criminal enterprise that he was running,” said one Garda source. “He was too hot. But he was still trying to stamp his authority and he wasn’t afraid to make threats to people.”

In May 2006 Paddy Harte was shot and killed, Harte was an ex associate who had branched out on his own selling drugs, he was seen as competition to Hyland. In August €400,000 worth of cocaine and nine firearms were seized in a raid in Meath, the drugs were traced to Hyland’s gang. One of those arrested with the drugs was Paul Reay. Hyland feared Reay was about to turn informer and ordered his death, Reay was shot dead and his sister injured.

In November 2006, a mother-of-two Baiba Saulite, a Latvian woman living in Ireland who was murdered in a suspected contract killing on behalf of a man who wanted her dead. Although he had nothing to do with the contract killing, it is believed he at least supplied the gun and possibly the get away car

By that time, Hyland had simply become too prominent a figure. Not only was he the Garda’s main gangland target, he was also attracting growing media attention. Someone decided they had had enough of Mario Hyland.

In November and again in December 2006 Gardai called Hyland, as is the protocol, to warn him that his life was in danger. He was advised to increase his security and to vary his routine to put his enemies off the track. Hyland had access of up to 8 properties he could stay at, never staying in the same place for more than 2 nights in a row.

On the night of 11 December 2006, Hyland stayed at the home of his niece in Finglas. Just before 9am the next morning, 12th December, his niece left to take her daughter to school, Hyland was asleep upstairs. Anthony Campbell who was 20 years old and an apprentice plumber and not involved in any criminality, was working in the house. Its believed two gunmen called to the house, Anthony Campbell, thinking it was his boss opened the door

One of the gunmen held Anthony Campbell downstairs while the other crept up the stairs and shot Hyland twice in the head and four times in the back as he slept. Before they left they shot the innocent Campbell once in the head, killing him instantly.

Gardaí suspected the killers were two of Hyland’s most trusted associates, no one has been convicted of the double murder.

However, one of those suspected of shooting Anthony Campbell was attacked in prison, where he was being held on other charges.

A jail insider said “He was jumped by around half a dozen young fellas after he got smart with them. They don’t care about his reputation and they left his face in some state. “It all kicked off on the B landing of the jail and Mangan was told that he is not wanted there. “So he was moved off the landing and has been rehoused to the C landing in the prison. He has been left in a terrified state and is very shaken.”


Owen Forsyth

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