Tuesday 26 September 2017

'Imminent' gang attack halted as Kinahan cartel's weapons seized

Asst. Commissioner John O'Driscoll, Special Crime Operations, Det. Supt. Tony Howard pictured with Det. Chief Supt. Jim McGowan during the Garda Press Briefing at The Garda National Drugs and Organised Crime Unit, Dublin Castle. Photo: Colin O'Riordan
Asst. Commissioner John O'Driscoll, Special Crime Operations, Det. Supt. Tony Howard pictured with Det. Chief Supt. Jim McGowan during the Garda Press Briefing at The Garda National Drugs and Organised Crime Unit, Dublin Castle. Photo: Colin O'Riordan

Robin Schiller and Ken Foy

Gardaí said the seizure of 15 high-powered assault rifles and handguns belonging to the Kinahan cartel has prevented an "imminent attack".

Officers from the Garda Drugs and Organised Crime Bureau (DOCB) raided a warehouse in the Greenogue Industrial estate, Baldonnel, west Dublin in a dawn operation yesterday morning.

It followed a lengthy surveillance operation at the premises; with gardaí storming the warehouse after witnessing one man enter the storage facility.

A number of the weapons recovered were loaded, with senior gardaí stating that an "imminent attack" was prevented and that lives were saved.

Det Supt Tony Howard of the DOCB said that at least one AK-47, one sub-machine gun, several handguns and a number of semi-automatic pistols were recovered.

"This was an intelligence led operation and forensic examinations by the technical bureau are ongoing as I speak, but I can say we have a minimum of 15 firearms recovered, possibly as many as 20 but we won't know the full figure until we've carried out a full search of the premises itself," he said.

Read more: Daniel Kinahan takes backseat role in boxing gym business due to 'bad publicity'

"There is absolutely no doubt that that this type of activity, it may go unseen by the public, but the reality is this operation disrupted an imminent attack and I've no doubt that we have saved lives as a result of this operation," the senior investigator added.

Three men, aged in their early 40s and early 50s were arrested and are currently being questioned at Clondalkin and Rathcoole garda stations.

One of the individuals was arrested inside the warehouse while two other men were detained close to the scene.

Members of the Armed Support Unit (ASU) guarded the warehouse as officers from the Garda Technical Bureau carried out a forensic examination.

It means that in the space of just 72 hours gardaí have seized almost €40m worth of drugs and up to 20 weapons from the deadly cartel.

"Obviously this particular operation and last weekend as well as myriad operations we conducted throughout 2016 resulted in 18 firearms being seized," Det Supt Howard added.

Read more: 'More than entire cannabis seizures for 2015 and 2016' - Massive €37.5m Kinahan drugs haul pictured

Separately, a man in his late 20s was arrested by gardai investigating the feud murder of Gerry 'The Monk' Hutch's older brother Eddie (58).

The man is suspected of possession of bullets in relation to the crime, according to sources.

The Clontarf man who was still being questioned in Mountjoy Garda Station last night was arrested in the capital's north side at 2.30pm according to gardai.

Sources said despite being now arrested for two feud related murders, the young man is not considered a major player in the Kinahan cartel who have carried out 10 of the 11 feud murders to date.

Hutch was shot dead at his home in Dublin's north inner city on the night of February 8 last. The four-man hit team, who burst into Hutch's home at Poplar Row, later escaped in a silver 06 BMW car.

His killing was seen as a revenge attack for the Regency Hotel shooting in which gangster David Byrne was assassinated.

Irish Independent

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