Drug boss Andre Shoukri looks to Dublin and Scotland for guns to fend off hit from rivals
Shoukri is under serious pressure after the shooting of Dean Rice last Tuesday, with former associate Alan McClean Jnr plotting revenge
Andre Shoukri is a man on the edge.
The Sunday World can reveal the drug boss is making inquires into obtaining more guns from contacts in Dublin and Scotland.
Inside sources say Shoukri is under serious pressure after the shooting of Dean Rice last Tuesday night, with his former associate Alan McClean Jnr and his drug gang plotting a bloody revenge for the attempted murder.
Dean Rice was shot in the back after being lured to a meeting, caught up in the crossfire in what has become a bitter drug turf war between the two men who were formally friends.
Both have accused each other of muscling in on each other's patch and becoming involved in the supply of heroin.
McClean Jnr has the backing of drug supplier Laurence 'Duffer' Kincaid, one of Northern Ireland's biggest criminals, making him an even bigger force to be reckoned with.
Kincaid was one the leaders of the LVF in north Belfast and has in his possession a small but deadly arsenal of weapons he has made available to McClean.
Knowing this, Shoukri (45) is circling the wagons, preparing himself and his mob for imminent attack.
The former UDA boss has reached out to contacts within the drug world, trying to obtain what he desperately needs. What guns Shoukri has available to him is no match to what McClean now has access to.
He is looking to both Scotland where the guns will and have come through Larne, and the south, mainly Dublin, where they will be smuggled across the border.
According to sources, Shoukri and his gang are planning the safest way to get their hands on as much as they can afford.
"Andre is under serious, serious pressure. Shooting Dean Rice has backfired spectacularly for him, he thought it would be enough of a warning to McClean to back off but it has done the opposite. Andre got above himself and now it's him in the firing line," one loyalist source told Sunday World.
McClean Jnr is said to be confident and relaxed he will be able to deal with Shoukri and his gang and take over the loyalist Westland estate in Belfast.
"Shoukri is gathering everyone around him he can - you want to have seen the cars outside his house the other day. He wants people close.
"But how long can he keep that up for? He's obviously nervous and so he should be. Shoukri is outnumbered and he has to know that. In my opinion he would need to be the one to strike first because if he doesn't he will just be seen as a sitting duck and that won't be a good look.
"Like Shoukri, Alan won't get his hands dirty but he has plenty of support and a team he trusts not to bottle it like Shoukri's shooter did," another source said.
Dean Rice was shot in the back but according to reports his shooter lost his nerve, fleeing the scene before finishing the job.
The Sunday World understands that Rice, who is still in a serious condition in hospital, is facing the prospect he might never walk again, fanning the flames for immediate revenge.
McClean Jnr was the original target but plans were changed at the last minute due to his connection to Kincaid - McClean is his biggest customer.
"Andre changed tact at the last minute knowing the Kincaids wouldn't take to kindly for one of their main customers being taken out. He thought Dean would be an easy target to send a warning but it really couldn't have gone more wrong.
"If any of them had a brain they would have sat down and carved the patch up, there is enough money to be made for both of them.
"One thing they both have in common is greed and ego, ego mainly and that is exactly why everyone is in this position now, why we are all targets," a source added.
The PSNI is monitoring the situation as tensions mount by the hour. More bloodshed appears to be inevitable despite increased patrols.
Sources on both sides say at the first opportunity action will be taken.
In relation to the attempted murder of Dean Rice, the PSNI issued this appeal to the public: "A suspect, described as slim and dressed all in dark clothing with a mask on and a hood drawn tight over his face, is believed to have fled the area on foot in the direction of Westland Road.
"We would appeal to anyone who was in the area at the time and saw anything, or who may have dash-cam or other footage, to contact police on 101 quoting reference 22 of 24/5/22."
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