Smuggler: I regret sending guns to Provos
"My guns may have been used in 'criminal' hit on Kevin McGuigan," claims gunrunner Mike Logan.
A Florida stockbroker turned gunrunner says he fears he may have sent the IRA the gun used to murder Kevin McGuigan.
Mike Logan says he posted the IRA around 200 handguns and hundreds of rounds of ammunition during his five-year gun-running career which began after the Provos’ ceasefire.
The man he says was his IRA contact in the smuggling operation was Sean ‘Spike’ Murray who was part of a Sinn Fein delegation which met the PSNI Chief Constable George Hamilton yesterday to discuss claims of IRA involvement in the McGuigan murder.
In an exclusive interview with Sunday Life, Logan said: “I now massively regret every weapon I ever bought for the IRA. Unfortunately, I think there is a very good chance I could have sent the gun that was used to kill Kevin McGuigan.
“I am horrified at his murder. Kevin was a father of nine, a grandfather, and a former IRA prisoner. The very idea that I sent a weapon which may have been used to shoot him, in front of his wife, makes me want to puke.
“I am totally distancing myself from such attacks. I am appalled that guns I sent are being used to police the nationalist community. I wash my hands of it all. This is criminal, not political, activity. The war is over.”
Kevin McGuigan was gunned down outside his Short Strand home almost a fortnight ago. The PSNI believes IRA members were involved.
The IRA believed that McGuigan had been the gunman who shot dead their former Belfast commander, Jock Davison, in May.
Logan, who is third-generation Irish, starting sending weapons to the Provisionals in 1995. He worked directly for Spike Murray, the head of the IRA’s Northern Command, who has served seven years in the H-blocks for explosive offences.
Logan travelled to Belfast to meet Spike Murray and pick up the IRA’s shopping list of arms. He revealed to Sunday Life that, at one meeting, Murray brought along Jock Davison: “I remember it well. We met at a GAA pitch near the City Cemetery.”
Murray sent his trusted IRA ally, Conor Claxton from west Belfast, to join Logan in Florida in 1999 to increase the volume of guns.
Logan hid the guns and ammunition in children’s toys – mainly fire engines – and posted them to Ireland. One weapon was used by the Provos to murder two policemen in Lurgan in 1997 and another killed Real IRA Belfast commander, Joe O’Connor, three years later.
Last Thursday, 53-year-old Patrick Fitzpatrick appeared in court charged with possessing a Glock pistol with intent to endanger life.
He had been interviewed by detectives investigating the murder of Kevin McGuigan. A police officer told the court that the Glock’s identification markings had been removed.
Logan said: “I sent Spike Murray about 25 Glocks and compact Glocks which are very rare. Spike told me that the IRA didn’t have Glocks. ‘If you can get them, that would be great’, he said.
“The IRA didn’t have any other route established of getting these weapons. As far as I’m aware, the only Glocks the IRA possess would have come from me.”
Logan said that Conor Claxton removed the serial numbers of the guns he personally sent to Ireland. “Conor used a tool called a dremel, it’s a mini-grinder, to file off the serial numbers.
“I never did this with the weapons I posted but the IRA may have removed the serial number after the guns reached Ireland. But it’s really easy for forensic experts to use acid to retrieve the serial number and trace the weapon.”
Logan said that he once asked Spike Murray if the IRA wanted AK-47s: “Spike said he didn’t. It was pistols the IRA were most keen to get hold off.
“In hindsight, I can see why. They wanted to use these guns in their own community, to control any opposition, to intimidate and eliminate any threat. There would be no need for AKs in small neighbourhoods like the Short Strand.”
Logan said he had believed the IRA wanted the weapons for “a campaign to force a British withdrawal and united Ireland”.
He said: “I thought they’d be used against military targets, not against civilians. The IRA lied to me as they lied to everybody.”
Logan was given immunity from prosecution by the US authorities in 2002 in exchange for giving them information about the weapons he had bought for the IRA.