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UDA hitman muscles in on Scots drugs racket; Adair lieutenant seeks new patch after failed deal leaves him broke.

Byline: By JAMIE MacASKILL

A LOYALIST hitman who fled Northern Ireland has joined forces with another exiled UDA commander in Scotland after the collapse of his so-called Bolton Wanderers drugs gang.

Drugs squad officers fear Gary 'Smickers' Smith could muscle in on trafficking between Northern Ireland and the West of Scotland which uses football supporters as cover.

Smith, 38, fled Belfast after his boss Johnny 'Mad Dog' Adair was ousted from the Ulster Defence Association.

He was part of the infamous Bolton Wanderers gang which had links to drugs barons in Manchester.

The Sunday Mail understands that the group split after losing thousands on a drugs deal that went wrong.

And Smith has joined forces with another exiled UDA commander in Scotland, Sam 'Skelly' McCrory, 36, who has loyalist contacts in Ayrshire and Glasgow.

A security services source said:'With Adair in prison and his sidekicks in disarray it is no surprise Smith is trying to get out on his own.

'We are very aware that the route for drugs between Northern Ireland and Scotland has become an attractive option for these people.'

Also known as 'Chiefo', Gary Smith is a former military commander of Adair's infamous Shankill Road-based C Company.

He quickly established himself as a leading UDA gunman in west Belfast in the mid-1990s.

Smith is fiercely loyal to Adair, who is serving a jail term in Northern Ireland for directing terrorism. A Loyalist source said yesterday: 'Smickers would die for Johnny Adair.'

In 1995 Smith was jailed for 16 years for conspiracy to murder and gun possession.

He was part of a gang of UDA and Ulster Freedom Fighter gunmen linked to 20 sectarian murders in west Belfast. One was a mother of two.

Smith was freed four years later as part of the Good Friday peace agreement. But within two years he was returned to prison by then Northern Ireland secretary John Reid over his continued links to terrorism.

Only Adair and Smith have had their licences revoked in such a way.

Just before he was returned to jail, Smith had made bomb threats to the Holy Cross Catholic Primary School which was at the centre of a bitter sectarian dispute in 2001.

He later received a three-year sentence for making the bomb threats.

Smith moved to Bolton in September last year after the UDA's Inner Council staged a coup against Adair.

He was joined by senior UDA men 'Fat' Jackie McDonald, brothers James 'Sham' and Herbie Miller and convicted killer turned political spokesman John White.

Adair's wife Gina also settled in Bolton with her four children.

But after the failed drugs deal, the exiles are virtually penniless. It has also led to a split and several of the deposed UDA gang have promised never to contact each other again.

A broke 'Fat' Jackie McDonald is understood to be working on a building site in the Manchester area. Adair's wife Gina is trying to negotiate a safe return to Belfast, while the Miller brothers are considering a move to London.

Former UDA political spokesman John White severed all links with the exiles last year. It is believed he has found religion and is living in Greater Manchester with his new girlfriend.

Smith moved north of the border with his girlfriend Sharon and their child, with the help of McCrory.

McCrory a close friend of McDonald and Adair also served time for conspiracy to murder. After leaving Belfast, he settled in Ayrshire.

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Johnny Adair and his exiled gang

Terrifying: the two faces of Gina Adair

Johnny 'Mad Dog' Adair in Maghaberry prison, Northern Ireland, for directing terrorism. Due for release next year.

Gina Adair Mad Dog's wife led the exodus from Belfast last year when the UDA moved to oust her husband. Moved to Scotland then Bolton, where she was cleared of drug dealing.

Jonathan Adair the first 'Mad Pup', Adair's 19-year-old son fled with his mum. Jailed for five years for dealing heroin in Bolton.

Gary 'Smickers' Smith gunman and Adair's second-in-command. Headed for Bolton after being freed from jail. Now moved to Scotland.

'Fat' Jackie Thompson fiercely loyal to Adair and his C Company death squad. Now working as a labourer on a Manchester building site.

James 'Sham' Millar and Herbie Millar C Company heavies and brothers. Sham has 'F*** Taigs' tattoo on his neck. Thought to be in London.

John White convicted terrorist murderer. Claims to have found God and a girlfriend and left the exiles for a new life in Manchester.

CAPTION(S):

Infamous: Feared gunman Gary ``Smickers'' Smith with friend and boss Johnny ``Mad Dog'' Adair; Exiled: Sam McCrory
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Publication:Sunday Mail (Glasgow, Scotland)
Date:Apr 11, 2004
Words:768
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