A leading Dublin inner city criminal was in garda custody last night after armed officers seized two handguns, a silencer and a small quantity of ammunition in a suburban house.
The 23-year-old man, who is suspected by gardai of being the leader of a city gang, was among four men and a woman detained by officers following a raid on the house at St Attracta Road in Cabra, north Dublin.
Gardai also seized two spent cartridges, indicating that one of the weapons had been test fired prior to the raid.
The search of the house was carried out at 11pm on Thursday after a week-long operation involving detectives from the Organised Crime Unit.
Backed up by members of the Emergency Response Unit, the detectives stormed the house and recovered a bag containing a revolver and an automatic pistol as well as the silencer and ammunition.
Gardai said last night that an attempt had been made to discard the guns as the officers ran to the back garden of the house but they were quickly seized.
The alleged gang leader was in the garden at the time with another man while a third was detained nearby.
His mother and her partner were arrested upstairs in the house.
The gang is suspected of being involved in a number of robberies in the capital and also thought to have been responsible for a spate of other crimes.
The 23-year-old is also believed to have had links with the former gangland boss, Eamon Dunne, who was murdered at the Fassaugh House pub at Fassaugh Avenue in Cabra last April.
His predecessor, Martin "Marlo" Hyland, was shot dead in a relative's house at Scribblestown Park in Finglas in December 2006.
Some of his associates were questioned by gardai last month about supplying logistical support to those responsible for carrying out Dunne's murder.
Gardai believe some of the Cabra gang have connections with an international drug dealer, suspected of ordering the gangland 'hit' on Dunne, who was regarded by other major players on the drug trafficking scene of being a liability because of the amount of garda attention he had attracted as a result of a series of fatal shootings.
The five suspects were questioned throughout yesterday at Store Street, Finglas and Mountjoy garda stations.
They range in age from their early 20s to late 40 and can be held without charge for up to 72 hours.
Meanwhile, garda ballistic experts have been examining the weapons at the headquarters of the technical bureau in the Phoenix Park to establish if they could be linked to previous shootings.