Gardai say seized gun was for hit on top drug trafficker
A MACHINE gun seized by gardai was intended for a gangland hit on a notorious drug trafficker, it has been learned.
A rival criminal in Limerick city was planning to gun down the drugs importer, who is in his 30s.
He has already survived a number of attempts on his life and was meant to have been the target of a planned murder in 2008, when the gunman mistakenly shot innocent Garryowen rugby player Shane Geoghegan.
The murder of Mr Geoghegan provoked outrage in Limerick and across the country and was one of the factors taken into account by the Government when then Justice Minister Dermot Ahern introduced tough new anti-gangland legislation.
The Sten submachine gun and an empty magazine were seized by the Emergency Response Unit (ERU) when they intercepted a car being driven southwards along the M1 Belfast to Dublin motorway on Wednesday night.
Two brothers from Limerick were arrested by gardai from Dundalk after the interception was made at Drumleck, Castlebellingham, Co Louth. The two men were taken for questioning to Dundalk and Drogheda garda stations.
But they have since been released without charge and a file will now be prepared by gardai for the Director of Public Prosecutions.
Gardai think that the machine gun was either purchased or borrowed from another criminal gang, based in the border area, and was due to have been delivered to a ruthless teenager from Moyross.
The teenager is one of the chief suspects for last year's murder of Lee Slattery (24).
Slattery was shot dead and buried in a shallow grave on the outskirts of the city.
Prior to Slattery's killing, he was linked by gardai to attempts to murder a major criminal connected with the Collopy gang.
The intended target for the latest hit plan escaped injury five years ago when shots were fired into his house.
He is regarded by gardai as a key member of one of the biggest gangs in the city.
One of the brothers arrested on Wednesday night has served a prison sentence for a serious crime.
The two are originally from Limerick's inner city but have since moved to a small town in the south west.