Arsenal of seized guns 'were being lined up for Regency-style massacre'
Gardai believe that the Kinahan mob was planning a Regency-style attack on the Hutch gang with the massive weapons haul seized from the cartel.
Armed gardai stormed the warehouse in the Greenogue Industrial estate, Rathcoole, west Dublin in a dawn operation on Tuesday morning.
As the heavily armed officers raided the premises they found a man in the process of loading the weapons. He was arrested at the scene.
In total, 15 firearms were recovered, including one AK-47, nine revolvers and four semi-automatic pistols. Another two men were arrested in a van close to the scene.
Senior sources last night said investigating detectives were satisfied that the weapons were being prepared for a spectacular, similar to the attack carried out at the Regency Hotel almost one year ago.
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"When they stormed the warehouse, the guns were being loaded and all the indications are that the Kinahan cartel were going to pull off a spectacular similar to the one carried out at the Regency Hotel last year," a source told the Herald.
"There are no high-level Hutch targets currently in the city, so the belief is that the guns were to be used in the coming days rather than the day they were seized."
It comes as gardai across the Dublin region are on knife-edge as the one year anniversary of the Regency Hotel gun attack approaches.
The three men arrested in relation to the weapons seizure had their period of detention extended at Dublin District Court yesterday morning.
They will be either charged or released unconditionally by lunchtime today. Over €300,000 in cash and a further €100,000 was discovered in bank accounts.
It has also emerged that a paranoia within the ranks of the Kinahan cartel started when two mid-level members were caught in possession of firearms last summer.
This, sources say has led to a "chaotic disorganisation" in the international crime gang which has led to gardai identifying several of the main players involved in logistics and money-laundering.
It started when two cartel members were stopped by members of the Special Detective Unit (SDU) last summer and found in possession of two handguns.
This operation was one of the first in which mid-level Kinahan associates were caught in direct possession of firearms since the feud began.
"Criminals within the gang started becoming paranoid, and massive disorganisation crept in as a result. They have stopped trusting each other," the source said.
"Low-level criminals are constantly being caught with firearms, ammunition and drugs, and it's making the senior players overly suspicious."
Apart from this week's gun and cash seizure, the cartel was dealt a major blow last Friday when gardai seized over €37m of drugs from the organisation.
In total, 1,873kg of cannabis herb was recovered following a lengthy intelligence-led operation.
The drugs have an estimated street value of €37.5m.
The drugs were sourced by the Kinahan cartel and originated in South Africa.
The shipment had been kept under surveillance by gardai for almost a week before it was seized.
Gardai are satisfied that the drugs belonged to the Kinahan cartel.
The seizure involved a lengthy operation by Revenue's customs service and the Garda Drugs and Organised Crime Bureau (DOCB).
It is a further blow to the cartel, which is currently involved in a deadly feud with the Hutch gang which kicked off in Dublin with the attack at the Regency Hotel on February 5.
The feud - which has so far claimed 11 lives - has led to major disruptions to the Kinahan cartel's daily operations.