Tony Felloni, notorious Dublin heroin dealer, dies suddenly aged 81

Dubliner nicknamed ‘King Scum’ after it emerged he used his children for drugs business and got them addicted

Tony Felloni, one of the highest profile heroin dealers in the Republic, has died. The 81-year-old, nicknamed ‘King Scum’, was HIV positive and died suddenly in a Dublin hospital on Monday.

He had kept a low profile since his release from prison in 2011, after being jailed in June 1996 for heroin dealing.

Originally from Lower Dominick Street in Dublin, Felloni was one of the highest-profile dealers during the 1980s heroin epidemic in the city and remained a key figure in the heroin trade for two decades.

He became notorious when it emerged that he used some of his children in his drug dealing and got some of them hooked on drugs. Felloni, who used heroin himself, also had a number of convictions for beating his wife.


While in jail he was targeted by the Criminal Assets Bureau (Cab) and Revenue Commissioners. His son, Luigi Felloni, was jailed for heroin dealing in June 1996 and received a sentence of six years, while his daughter, Regina Felloni, was jailed for six years and nine months for heroin dealing.

A trawl of the trio’s assets in the Republic by Cab realised a cash total of just over €292,000, which included the proceeds of the sale of a property. The bulk of the money, some €253,173, related to Regina Felloni. A bail bond of €24,000 lodged on behalf of Tony Felloni was also transferred to State coffers.

The investigations also found the Fellonis had lodged £145,519 in six bank accounts in Belfast and Liverpool. That cash was released by the British and Northern Irish exchequers when the case against the Fellonis finally concluded.

The case against the heroin-dealing family was one of the first pursued by the bureau on its inception in 1996. It took a long time to conclude because the Fellonis challenged the case and then refused to co-operate when the High Court granted orders to the Cab against them.

After being jailed in 1996 for heroin dealing, Felloni served much of his term in Portlaoise Prison and Mountjoy. His final appeal of his sentence was dismissed by the courts in 1999. Probation and psychiatric reports on him at that time revealed he had become completely institutionalised, was HIV positive and had obtained drugs in prison. He was unable to manage on his own for more than two days.

A son of Italian immigrants, Felloni began his career in crime in the 1960s by seducing women working as domestic staff in large houses in Dublin. He would develop the relationships to the stage where he would take compromising photographs of them and then demand half of their wages each week under threat of showing the images to their employers.

Felloni collected more than 20 convictions, many for burglary and assault, including against his wife. After one such conviction in 1980, Felloni moved to Britain, where he began to make contacts among the criminal fraternity and feel his way into the drugs trade. He was arrested in Surrey in 1981 and jailed for four years for conspiracy to import heroin.

On his return to the Republic in 1984, Felloni began to move into the drugs business in a serious way. Although he would never be one of the top operators, he was one of the few major dealers who sold directly to those who sold drugs on the streets.

Felloni received a 10-year sentence in July 1986 and a decade later was jailed for 20 years, serving 15 years of that sentence after remission was factored in.

Conor Lally

Conor Lally

Conor Lally is Security and Crime Editor of The Irish Times