For a town of 3,500 people, Clara, Co Offaly has witnessed its shared of historical events of the years. Just 10 months ago, the town welcomed the Claret Jug to its streets, after Shane Lowry's Open win. Clara has also given Ireland a Taoiseach in Brian Cowen. Today, it is at the centre of one of the more unusual crime stories we've encountered in recent memory.
Multiple media organisations are today reporting that Gardaí last night arrested a four man 'South American hit team' outside Clara. Gardaí believe the men are all Brazilian and in Ireland to carry out a hit on behalf of a Traveller family who were looking to exact punishment for an unpaid drugs debt.
RTE's Paul Reynolds reported today:
Armed officers from the Emergency Response Unit intercepted the four men in the early hours of this morning outside the village of Clara. Three of the men were travelling in a van, the fourth separately in a car. They were armed with a machine gun, a sawn-off shotgun and several rounds of ammunition.
Gardaí are conducting to research to find out how long the men were in Ireland for. Reynolds reports that one of the four men was planning to leave the country tomorrow.
You'd think Clara might be the last place you'd encounter a Brazilian hit squad in the middle of the night. But then again, Offaly does things its own way.
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