Belfast Telegraph

Friday 11 July 2014

Gun smuggling accused says he was entrapped

Arsenal: Part of the weapons haul seized in a joint PSNI/Garda operation in September

A Dublin man accused of importing a vast arsenal of weapons along with £5m worth of heroin is claiming he was a victim of a police trap, the High Court in Belfast has heard.

Paul Edward Meehan (34) from The Crescent, Sallis Park, Dublin, is in custody on a variety of charges after being detained in an international “sting” operation in the Europa Hotel in Belfast last month.

Meehan’s arrest followed an operation involving the PSNI, Gardai and Dutch police as well as customs authorities on both sides of the Border.

Meehan is charged with unlawfully importing 37 weapons — 29 Glock pistols, six Berettas and two Smith and Wessons — as well as a large quantity of ammunition between June and September this year.

He is further charged with importing 14 kilos of heroin — the biggest seizure ever made in Ireland, north or south — conspiracy to smuggle 3,810,000 counterfeit cigarettes and possessing €246,350 alleged to be criminal property under the Proceeds of Crime Act.

Meehan’s application for bail was due to be heard yesterday but his lawyer Kieran Vaughan sought an adjournment.

He said Meehan’s entrapment claim was contained in the last of 23 police interviews.

“My instructing solicitors have been transcribing the interview tapes but have not got to the relevant and important last one,” said Mr Vaughan.

He said another reason for the adjournment application was the absence of evidence relating to his client’s medical condition which he described as “serious”.

“His brothers have travelled up from Dublin today and we expected they would bring medical evidence with them but unfortunately they have not been able to get hold of it,” said Mr Vaughan.

Lord Justice Coghlin adjourned the application until November 12 but warned defence lawyers not to list it unless all the papers were in order.

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