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ON THE RUN Tensions rise as Robbie Lawlor 'blood money' criminal flees baseball bat gang

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Robbie Lawlor was gunned down in April

Robbie Lawlor was gunned down in April

Robbie Lawlor was gunned down in April

THERE are major fears of an escalation in the deadly Drogheda feud after a key member of the Maguire faction was chased by rival thugs armed with baseball bats.

Sources described the incident, which happened last weekend, as a “serious development” that will more than likely lead to a retaliation attempt.

During the incident, the target was forced to run back to his home in the Co Louth town.

He is a 21-year-old criminal arrested last month by detectives as part of a money laundering investigation linked to the murder of gangland serial killer Robbie Lawlor.

He was arrested and then released without charge, along with another gang member aged in his 30s.

The pair are suspected of travelling from Co Louth to Co Laois to handover €50,000 in cash to two Limerick women with links to the McCarthy-Dundon gang.

The cash was described as “blood money” for Lawlor’s murder last April in Belfast.

The 21-year-old cannot be named for legal reasons. He is on bail facing violent disorder charges.

“Tensions are definitely higher than they have been for a while in Drogheda. The expectation is that the Maguire crew will hit back,” a source said.

“He was forced to run for his life when he was confronted by the other crew, who have been using teenagers to carry out intimidation for them in recent weeks.”

The feud, which has claimed four lives, kicked off when Owen Maguire was maimed in a gun attack believed to have been carried out by Lawlor in July 2008.

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Mob boss Owen Maguire.

Mob boss Owen Maguire.

Mob boss Owen Maguire.

It gained international headlines with the gruesome murder of Keane Mulready-Woods (17) last January, for which Lawlor was also a chief suspect.

Now some of the teenager's best pals have become involved in the gang warfare, with two arrested last week for threats to kill a woman.

The pair, aged 19 and 22, were released without charge.

The latest development come as gardaí in Drogheda and Dublin continue to investigate the gruesome murder of the teenager, with up to a dozen officers working full time on the case.

“There is one male before the courts in relation to the murder, but there will be more arrests. Resources continue to be given to this case,” a source said.

The Herald revealed last month that two criminal brothers, who are regarded as leaders of the anti-Maguire faction, had fled to Mexico.

They have since been joined there by their girlfriends.

Ireland has no extradition treaty with Mexico.

The brothers, aged 25 and 21, left Ireland in the aftermath of the murder of Mulready-Woods.

They travelled to Spain, where they were based for months, but left the EU after warrants were issued for their arrests relating to an incident in 2018.

In their absence, a 20-year-old, who is also facing feud-related charges, has taken over as the mob’s leader and sources say his “direction of operations” has made him the main target for the Maguire mob.

Herald