herald

Wednesday 26 June 2019

Gang leader spent Christmas behind bars over gun fears

Rival criminal Owen Maguire
Rival criminal Owen Maguire

GardaiI have been placed on high alert after a gang leader in the Drogheda feud was released from jail.

The gangster, in his 20s, decided to spend the festive period behind bars because he was afraid of being shot if he took up bail, senior sources revealed.

However, he is now out on High Court bail and is under armed garda surveillance.

He has to sign on every day at a north Dublin garda station as part of strict bail conditions.

"He is out now and gardai have put in a special policing plan for that," a source said.

"He could have got out of prison earlier, but he was afraid of being whacked so he decided to stay put.

"This contributed to the festive period in Drogheda being very quiet, but gardai are under no illusions that the attacks will begin again soon."

The jailed gangster was at the centre of a major investigation last month after officers received credible intelligence that criminals were plotting to have two gardai investigating the feud gunned down.

Threats were made in a phone call to Cloverhill Prison, where a number of the feuding mobsters were on remand.

The gangsters at the centre of the threats are the same mob involved in the botched murder bid on Owen Maguire last July.

They were also involved in a bomb attack on a house on Dec- ember 12, and senior sources say the gang has the capability to carry out its sickening threats against gardai.

Several houses have been firebombed in Drogheda in recent months, and there have also been gun attacks, bomb attacks and vicious assaults.

Detonated

In a garda drugs raid on a house in the town, officers were shocked to find a large pipe bomb.

"It was two feet long and two inches wide. It would have caused a lot of damage if it was detonated," a source said.

Armed gardai are maintaining a presence at Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital because of fears that Maguire will be targeted by the rival gang led by the recently released thug.

Maguire (34) was blasted six times outside his home in a handgun attack in which he sustained horrific injuries just after midnight last July 5.

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