Felloni: has served 15 years in prison

TONY FELLONI – one of the country's most notorious and despised criminals – is preparing for his release from Mountjoy prison after serving 15 years for heroin trafficking.

Nicknamed 'King Scum', 67-year-old Felloni was the most high-profile drug dealer during the 1980s heroin epidemic in Dublin and remained a key dealer for two decades. He became notorious when it emerged he recruited his children to join the family business and got them hooked on drugs to ensure his control over them. His brutality towards women and his family earned him his nickname.

Ann, his second-oldest child, became a heroin addict while she was still in school and contracted Aids. Her eldest brother Mario Angelo started in the family trade when he was just a teenager.

At the age of 16 his father gave him his first taste of heroin as a birthday present. Of his eight children, five have spent long spells in jail and others have become heroin addicts. Felloni also beat his wife Anne so severely on several occasions that she had to be hospitalised.

In 1996, he was sentenced to 20 years for trafficking heroin. Like all inmates, he is entitled to 25% remission, meaning he will serve 15 years. His release date has been set for the end of January. In recent days, the 67-year-old was moved to Mountjoy's training unit. The training unit is a semi-open prison, and inmates serving long sentences are often moved there to prepare them for being reintegrated into outside world after spending such a long stretch behind bars.

In May, gardaí made legal history by seizing almost €500,000 in assets from the notorious drug trafficker and two members of his family. The High Court finally gave the go-ahead to gardaí and the Criminal Assets Bureau (CAB) to confiscate the cash, which had been stashed away here, in Northern Ireland and in England.

The case involved the use of "ordinary" powers to seize assets under the Criminal Justice Act rather than the Proceeds of Crime Act, which was introduced after the setting up of the CAB.

Felloni has 26 previous convictions, dating from 1959, including a 10-year sentence imposed in 1986 for drug trafficking.

His son, Luigi Felloni (36), was sentenced to six years' imprisonment in June 1996 after pleading guilty to trafficking in heroin. He had 10 previous convictions, including three for the supply of drugs.

His daughter, Regina Felloni (34), was sentenced to six years and nine months in prison in June 1996 after she had also pleaded guilty to trafficking in heroin. She had seven previous convictions, including one for drugs supply.