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Gardaí believe men arrested in small Offaly town were South American 'hit team'

The men, arrested in Clara today, are understood to be Brazilian.

Image: Leah Farrell via RollingNews.ie

ARMED GARDAÍ SWOOPED on a suspected South American hit team this morning which they believe had been hired to kill a rival senior crime figure based in the Midlands.

Members of the armed Garda Emergency Response Unit arrested four men in the Clara area of Offaly who were found to be in possession of guns. 

The small town, which has a population of just over 3,000 people, is located around 28km from Athlone.

Gardaí believe the men were on the way to carry out a murder on behalf of a criminal gang based in the Midlands. 

It is understood the men are Brazilian.

Officers in the area have “no idea” why the gang recruited this group of men to carry out the crime, given the strict travel measures which are currently in place, according to sources.

However, it is understood that they were hired by one side of an ongoing feud between two families belonging to the Traveller community. The dispute started over a small drug debt involving younger members of the two families. 

Gardaí had been conducting surveillance on the suspected South American men and moved this afternoon when they believed the men were making their way to carry out a murder.

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A garda spokesman said: “An Garda Síochána are currently engaged in an ongoing operation that has resulted from an incident that occurred in Clara, this morning, Wednesday 27 May 2020.

“Four males are currently detained under section 30 Offences Against the State Act and a number of firearms have been recovered. This is an ongoing operation and An Garda Síochána has no further comment at this time.”

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