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Heroin Dealers Among Guinness Kidnap Suspects

United Press International

A gang of heroin dealers on the run from Irish Republican Army guerrillas might have kidnaped the wife of a member of the Guinness family banking and brewing dynasty, Irish newspapers reported Friday.

Police confirmed the report was “one of several lines” investigators are pursuing in their investigation of the kidnaping Tuesday of Jennifer Guinness, 48.

A deadline for the payment of a $2.6-million ransom passed Friday with no word from the woman’s captors.

“We can confirm that a deadline was set, but it was in very big terms,” Police Superintendent Frank Hanlon said. “We don’t want to get hung up on deadlines.”

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Irish newspapers reported that police were investigating the possibility that Guinness was abducted by a gang of heroin dealers who needed the ransom money to flee the country before IRA guerrillas caught them.

Dealers Threatened

The Evening Press said the IRA, which is waging a guerrilla war to wrest control of Northern Ireland from Britain, has warned drug dealers they would be shot in the knees, a punishment known as “kneecapping,” if they did not stop peddling heroin.

Narcotics are a serious problem in Dublin, and the IRA has taken an anti-drug position to bolster its image.

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Three hooded gunmen took Guinness, 48, from her posh home overlooking Dublin Bay at 5 p.m. Tuesday, telling her husband, John Henry Guinness, chairman of the Guinness and Mahon Merchant Bank in Dublin, and their daughter that they had three days to pay a $2.6-million ransom.

Hanlon said the gang, led by a man his two accomplices called “Colonel,” has not contacted the family to make any arrangements for payment.

“We are concerned as time goes by that no contact has been made,” Hanlon said. “We hope it does not indicate a deterioration in the situation.”

Police, acting on suspicions that the kidnapers might be holed up in a rural hideout, searched vacant houses and derelict buildings. In several counties, they were assisted by troops.

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