Jail for gang thugs caught 'red-handed' with two guns
Two of Dublin's most feared convicted criminals have been jailed for a combined 22 years after they were caught "red-handed" with fully loaded guns and a can of petrol.
Superintendent Tony Howard said the sentencing of Paul Zambra to 10 years and Anthony Callaghan to 12 years is "one of the most significant convictions in quite some time".
"These are two very dangerous criminals who have been removed from society for a number of years," he said outside the Criminal Courts of Justice yesterday.
Callaghan (45), of Millrace Road, Phoenix Park Racecourse, Dublin, and Zambra (39), of Inagh Road, Ballyfermot, Dublin, pleaded guilty to possession of a Ruger Revolver and semi-automatic pistol with intent to endanger life at Clonshaugh Avenue, Coolock on May 29, 2015.
Dublin Circuit Criminal Court heard they were caught following a three-day surveillance operation by gardaí. Inside their BMW, gardaí recovered a full five-litre petrol container, a semi-automatic pistol wrapped in newspapers and a revolver wrapped in a neck warmer. The semi-automatic pistol had a silencer attached and its safety catch was off.
The Ruger Revolver was loaded with five rounds and had its serial numbers drilled off.
Supt Howard said the car also had false number plates.
"This was a professional operation and there is no doubt that somebody's life was in imminent danger," he added.
Judge Melanie Greally said the men were caught "red-handed". She said Zambra was a man with "a history of violent crime" and Callaghan had previously been jailed for firearm offences connected with a robbery.
The guns were at "optimal readiness for use" and their capacity to endanger life was "considerable", she added.
Zambra and his gang are linked to a series of murders and attempted murders in a campaign of terror that has lasted for over a decade.
It was never stated in court who was the intended target, but it is believed they were hired by a north inner city gang to murder Dean Russell (44), the brother of Anthony Russell who was shot dead in an Artane pub in 2008.