IRA dissident seeking guns caught in British sting

30 June 2010
Associated Press

A self-described senior Irish Republican Army dissident has been convicted by a Belfast judge of trying to buy guns, explosives and other weapons from undercover British agents.

The case against 43-year-old Paul McCaugherty featured testimony from two agents from the MI5 spy agency who posed as Middle Eastern arms dealers and recorded their conversations with McCaugherty from 2004 to 2006.

Belfast Justice Anthony Hart ruled Wednesday that MI5's body of evidence against McCaugherty was overwhelming. It included audiotape of McCaugherty describing himself as deputy commander of the Real IRA splinter group, and asking for myriad equipment including armor-piercing weapons, plastic explosive and sniper rifles.

Hart says he will sentence McCaugherty at a later date.

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