Guns and drugs suspect still held for questioning

Garda: File photo

By Ken Foy Crime Correspondent

A 39-year-old man who was arrested in an operation which netted over €360,000 worth of drugs, three machine guns, a handgun and ammunition was still being questioned by officers last night.

The Ballyfermot man was being held in Clondalkin garda station after his arrest on Monday in a bust which sources say is the biggest blow against organised crime in the capital this year.

The Herald revealed yesterday that the weapons and drugs were controlled by a west Dublin mob called 'The Family' who have been major targets for specialised gardai for years.

Sources say that the man in custody is a key member of the mob and the raid at the Ballyfermot house happened after the vehicle he was travelling in was stopped in Clondalkin at around 4pm on Monday and the suspect was then searched and found with €4,000.

Gardai confirmed yesterday that three sub machine guns and a pistol were found, along with three kilos of what is believed to be cocaine.

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Officers also discovered one kilo of suspected heroin, as well as a quantity of ammunition.

A number of follow-up searches took place throughout Tuesday and yesterday morning and while nothing of major value was seized in these, sources say that gardai have gathered "lots of new intelligence" on the internal workings of the 'Family' gang.

Gardai believe that the seized weapons had come into the country with a drugs shipment from Spain for the gang.

Sources say that the mob are not involved in any "active feud" and had been stockpiling the weapons.

The leader of the mob is a 37-year-old career criminal from Clondalkin who was previously jailed for six years for possession of almost €2m worth of heroin.

A court heard from a senior detective in that case that the dangerous gang "had in the past used fatal shootings of anyone who compromised their business."

The traffickers, who have been targeted by the Criminal Assets Bureau in the past, are described as being "a highly unusual but very effective crew."