GARDAI have severed a major heroin supply line linked to former associates of jailed gang leader Brian Rattigan.
Last night three suspects were in custody after an intelligence-led operation resulted in two connected seizures of heroin in the capital.
The total haul has an estimated street value of €642,000, which is highly significant for a heroin capture.
Senior garda officers said there was no doubt that the seizures had dealt a financial body blow to the traffickers – and had resulted in rising tensions within the gang as they tried to find out who was responsible for the loss of such a large shipment.
Some of the main players in the gang are former associates of Rattigan, the jailed leader of one of the groups in the deadly Crumlin-Drimnagh feud.
Since Rattigan was put behind bars, his associates have formed a new group to take over the drugs trafficking scene in the south inner city.
As a result of intelligence gathering in recent weeks, and targeting of specific criminal figures, officers from the south central divisional crime task-force stopped and searched three suspects at Crumlin Road at teatime on Wednesday.
This led to the seizure of heroin worth €42,000.
During two follow-up garda raids, officers recovered a huge haul of heroin worth more than €600,000 in an apartment at Westpark in Rathcoole, Co Dublin.
Also found were a hydraulic press, bagging materials and scales as well as other items used in preparing heroin for distribution and supply.
Gardai believe the apartment was being used as a store to prepare smaller shipments for sale across the city.
The trafficking gang is understood to have been heavily involved in parts of Crumlin, Drimnagh, Kilmainham and Dolphin's Barn.
The three suspects, in their 30s, were being questioned last night at various garda stations.