THE gangsters linked to the hitmen who murdered Melanie McCarthy McNamara are thugs aged in their early 20s who "seemed to spring out of nowhere" last year. The Herald has been reporting on their criminal activities for over six months and gardai have consistently warned about their dangerous capabilities. The reckless hitmen are strongly associated with a ruthless west Dublin gang who have been dealing crystal meth and carrying out armed robberies. Crystal meth is a hugely addictive drug, which reaps big profits for the gangs. There has been a steady increase in the use and availability of the drug in certain small pockets of the capital recently. As well as selling the deadly drug, the crazed gangsters have been using it themselves, making them particularly “unpredictable and dangerous.” Notorious Many of the gang members are facing trial on other matters but some are still on the streets and all have close links to murdered Tallaght drug dealer Stephen O'Halloran (20), who was shot dead in January 2009. One of the jailed hoods is so out-of-control that senior officers have expressed deep concern that he is the “new Warren Dumbrell” – a reference to the notorious jailed killer who has built a reputation as one of Ireland’s most feared criminals. A key member of the gang is the chief suspect in the fatal stabbing of electrician Kevin Kenny (32) outside a Ballyfermot pub in early August. The home of this suspect's younger brother was raided by armed gardai in Ballyfermot on Wednesday evening – but officers say he was not directly involved in the murder. Melanie’s two killers are also linked to a dangerous mob of young hoods based in Tallaght, Ballyfermot and Crumlin. They’ve been behind dozens of violent crimes since last summer – including two murders. Some of the thugs are linked to an armed robbery at a rural post office in which two people were shot. They are also suspects in an aggravated burglary at a Dublin B&B and a number of armed robberies at city supermarkets. The gangsters are also suspected of a failed attempt to rob a cash-in-transit van. Known for being extremely violent, the gang were involved in a horrendous knife attack on a young man who owed them money for drugs last summer. One of the main players in the gang was not part of the hit team who shot Melanie. But he has been a key figure in the escalation of the feud with settled Travellers which has developed over the past five months or so. He is the chief suspect for the gun attack last September on the Tallaght home of Michael ‘Gunner Eye' Moran (47), the father of Melanie's partner Christy Moran (21). Christy Moran was the intended target of Tuesday night's outrage. Since September’s non-fatal gun attack, there has been a number of violent incidents linked to the feud including pipe bomb attacks and a number of firearms incidents. But nobody – even the thugs themselves – could have predicted that the feud would have led to the murder of a completely innocent 16-year-old girl. Tragic Melanie and heartbroken Christy both have family links to the McCarthy/Dundon gang who have vowed to avenge the shocking murder of the teenager. Last night underworld sources said that a six-figure sum has been offered by the Limerick gangsters to murder her killers, but gardai were unable to confirm this today. “There will be revenge attacks – we are certain of that. “But we don't expect anything major to happen until after Melanie's funeral, which is expected to take place in Co Limerick next week,” said a source. The chief suspects, who are aged in their early 20s, are from the Crumlin and Tallaght areas of the capital and are well- known to gardai. One of the thugs has almost 100 previous convictions, including dozens for dangerous driving offences.