Belfast Telegraph

'I'd would turn up at gun shows with pocketfuls of cash'

By Suzanne Breen

Mike Logan was a millionaire, Ferrari-driving businessman when he started sending weapons to the IRA in 1995.

He hid the guns and ammunition in children's toys - mainly fire engines - and posted them to Ireland.

"I'd go to gun shows across the US with pocketfuls of cash, maybe as much as $10,000 a time, and buy whatever I wanted for Spike," he said.

"I once asked Spike if the IRA wanted AK-47s and he said 'No, we got AKs coming out of our ass, we don't need any more.'"

Along with more than 200 handguns, Logan sent the IRA hundreds of .50 calibre premium quality rounds of ammunition.

"They were better than anything used by the south Armagh snipers," he said.

Logan also sent the IRA deadly munitions capable of bringing down military helicopters and penetrating police Land Rovers, killing all personnel travelling inside.

"I sent them .50 calibre shells called Raufoss rounds. The Americans used them to annihilate miles of Saddam Hussein's tanks in Iraq. I can't stress how powerful they are. These shells are armour-piercing. They penetrate the vehicle they're fired at, then explode and ignite. They can incinerate everything and everybody inside.

"I bought 20 of them for just $10 apiece at a gun show. I sent them to Spike. On my next visit to Ireland, he said he was delighted with them. The look on his face was priceless," Logan said.

"He told me he'd personally tested one of them on a scrap car down south.

"He said, 'Wow, they're good. They really do the business.' There are still 19 of these rounds out there. Somebody somewhere in Ireland has them."

The Raufoss rounds are fired from a heavy machine-gun or large sniper rifle. So controversial are the Norwegian-made shells that the International Committee of the Red Cross wants them banned.

It has appealed to armies not to fire the shells at military targets which have humans inside because of the utter devastation they cause to whatever they hit.

Logan, who is third-generation Irish, became friends with leading republicans during many visits to Ireland.

The former Florida stockbroker became obsessed with Irish politics during the 1981 hunger strike because of his "huge admiration" for Bobby Sands and the nine other prisoners who starved to death. He soon started to visit Ireland. "My father's family was from Co Antrim and my mother's from Co Cork and I wanted to check out my roots. I started making regular visits. I was attracted to all the Troubles hotspots," he said.

"I'd fly over and the first places I'd drive to would be Crossmaglen, Cappagh or the Creggan. I was a diehard. I bought into the b*******. I listened to Irish music. I immersed myself in Irish politics and history. I read everything I could get my hand on.

"I know my way around Belfast as well as people born there. I first visited Ireland when I was 25. I was 40 years old when I started gunrunning.

"I got a real buzz out of it. I was this respectable stockbroker by day and a republican socialist arms smuggler in my spare time.

"I liked living on the edge. People have always said that about me."

In what appears to be a major security lapse, Logan never seemed to have come to the attention of the security forces here during his gunrunning years despite the fact that he was at many republican protests and riots across Northern Ireland.

He said he was present during serious disturbances on Portadown's Garvaghy Road and in north Belfast. By attending these events, he was defying IRA orders.

He said: "I would go to riots. Spike wouldn't be pleased because he wanted me to keep a low profile on my visits. He'd say disapprovingly, 'I hear you were in Ardoyne last night'," he said.

Murray once presented Logan with a huge Celtic harp made by IRA prisoners in Portlaoise jail to show the American that the Provos appreciated the vital role he played in arming them.

Logan's gunrunning ended after his accomplices were caught by the FBI. Spike Murray had sent his trusted IRA ally, Conor Claxton from west Belfast, to join Logan in Florida in January 1999, and increase the volume of guns being sent.

Claxton recruited three other people to the operation but he was careless in his methods and the Florida Four were arrested by the FBI six months later.

Logan said that Claxton removed the serial numbers of the guns he sent to Ireland.

"Conor used a tool called a dremel, it's a mini grinder, to file off serial numbers," he said.

"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."

Belfast Telegraph


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