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'extremely dangerous' Suspected hitman found living 'under the radar' in Longford held over kill threats

Senior sources said the arrested man is an "extremely dangerous criminal" who has been imprisoned in his native Lithuania for murder.

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A SUSPECTED hitman 'living under the radar' in rural Longford was in garda custody last night, being questioned about threatening to kill a terrified man he claimed owed him a drugs debt.

The 43-year-old criminal was detained at Longford Garda Station after the Garda Armed Support Unit and local detectives were involved in a major arrest operation at the suspect's home in Edgeworthstown yesterday.

Senior sources said the arrested man is an "extremely dangerous criminal" who has been imprisoned in his native Lithuania for murder.

Local gardaí have been working with Interpol as part of their investigation.

The suspect served eight years for the charge of "intentional murder" and was also given a sentence of two-and-a-half years in relation to a serious assault in Lithuania.

He relocated to England but was deported from the UK in 2015 after police there became aware of his dangerous background and convictions after he was arrested for handling stolen property.

It is not known when he moved to Ireland, but sources say he had been living "under the radar" in rural Longford.

"Longford gardaí were notified of this incident on Monday and the allegation is that this man threatened to kill the victim around a fortnight ago at a property in Longford in which the victim was also seriously assaulted and threatened with a firearm," a source said.

Local officers acted quickly and the suspect was arrested within hours of detectives receiving the information.

It has emerged that the male victim, who is also a foreign national, allegedly bought a small quantity of drugs from the convicted killer - who then demanded he pay over 10 times the value of the drugs.

When the criminal was not paid the cash, he called to the victim's home and allegedly beat him up, threatened to kill him and pulled a gun on him.

"He told him he had 24 hours to pay or he was dead," a source said.

When gardaí raided the suspect's home yesterday, they discovered three imitation firearms - including one which is suspected of being used in the crime.

Officers also recovered a small amount of cannabis and suspected amphetamine paste during their searches.

It has been a busy week for Longford gardaí, who seized €22,500 in cash and jewellery during a search on Monday evening as part of a separate investigation into a local organised crime gang.

"During the course of the search gardaí seized €7,500 in cash and a number of pieces of high-end jewellery - including two Rolex watches, and gold jewellery with an estimated value of €15,000 - were also seized," a garda spokeswoman said.

A woman aged in her late 40s was arrested and was later released without charge. A file is being prepared for the DPP.

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