'Imminent attack' prevented after gardaí seize Dublin gangland firearms and arrest three
Gardaí have seized over a dozen firearms and arrested three men during a search operation this morning.
The weapons were discovered during a search at an industrial estate in Baldonnel, Co Dublin earlier today.
Gardaí from the Drugs and Organised Crime Bureau (DOCB), who were targeting organised crime groups, discovered the arms haul.
This afternoon Detective Superintendent Tony Howard of the DOCB confirmed that at least one assault rifle, one sub-machine gun as well as semi-automatic pistols were seized in the raid. Nearly 20 firearms were discovered.
1/2: Gardai recovered at least 1 assault rifle, 1 semi-automatic weapon as well as several handguns and machine pistols Baldonnell— Robin Schiller (@11SchillRob) January 24, 2017
2/2 Det Supt Tony Howard says that some of the weapons were loaded and that Gardai prevented an imminent attack. Three men arrested.— Robin Schiller (@11SchillRob) January 24, 2017
Some of the weapons were loaded and gardaí believe they prevented an "imminent attack".
"There is absolutely no doubt that that this type of activity- which as the Commissioner stated 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.
"Obviously this particular operation and last weekend's (drug seizure) as well as a myriad of operations we conducted through 2016 resulted in 18 firearms being seized," he said.
"The reality is all of these seizures put together has resulted in a considerable impact on how these organised crime gangs can operate here in the state.
"I'd like to congratulate the Gardai here concerned because there's always a risk when we have young Gardai going out on our operations, especially when we're interrupting gangs who have access to firearms. "They're lives are always in danger. We always try to mitigate that danger but again I would like to compliment the professionalism of those members of An Garda Siochana," Det Supt Tony Howard added.
Three men, aged in their 40s and 50s, have been arrested in connection with the find.
In a statement, a spokesperson confirmed: "An Garda Síochána, targeting organised crime groups have made a significant firearms and ammunition seizure at an industrial estate, Baldonnel, County Dublin today."
The arrests come less than a week after officers from the DOCB discovered cannabis worth €37.5m at Dublin port.
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In total, 1,873kg of cannabis herb was recovered, following a lengthy intelligence-led operation.
Garda Assistant Commissioner John O'Driscoll told Independent.ie on Saturday: "This I believe, in anyone's estimation is a great result. The joint co-operation between the two agencies has helped ensure that this quantity of illicit drugs has been removed from the market and it has helped to target organised crime in a very significant manner.
"We're all aware of the recent seizures of firearms from groups who are intent on killing each other. All of these actions combine to have a significant impact on organised crime.
"Our efforts at tackling organised crime is unrelenting and it's comprehensive."
Liam Irwin, Commissioner with the Revenue Commissioners, said: "The result is one of the biggest seizures we have seen for years. Just to put it in perspective, what we have here today is more than the entire cannabis seizures for 2015 and 2016."
Mr Irwin said that some of the drugs seized have already gone for analysis.
When asked what will happen to the drugs now, he explained that they will be stored in the interim for evidence. They may be used for evidence but will "ultimately be destroyed".