Bungling Kinahan cartel goons put the wrong bullets in a handgun that detectives believe was primed to be used on its rivals in the capital's deadly gangland feud.
The revelation came at a hearing yesterday in which it was decided that a man linked through DNA evidence to a revolver found in a bloodstained plastic bag would be sentenced next month at the Special Criminal Court.
Sean Ruth (29), of Blacktrench, Rathangan, Co Kildare, had pleaded guilty on Tuesday to possessing a .38 special calibre Rossi revolver and a 9mm calibre round of ammunition at a place unknown within the State between January 1, 2016, and January 24, 2017.
Det Insp Noel Browne, of the National Drugs and Organised Crime Bureau, summarised the facts of the case.
He revealed that a bloodstained Spar plastic bag containing a disposable glove was found on top of a timber box downstairs in a warehouse at a Dublin business park.
Inside the finger of this glove was a 9mm calibre round of ammunition, which was not suitable for the revolver.
Det Insp Browne also gave evidence that there were two rounds of ammunition in the Rossi revolver which would not have fired.
The evidence regarding this weapon has similarities to evidence given in a separate case in the Special Criminal Court last July when two cartel foot soldiers' "shambolic" plan to murder a Dublin man was foiled by gardai.
They received sentences totalling 24 years.
When armed detectives pounced on Stephen Dunne (39) and Gary Gleeson (34), they found a loaded handgun in the front of their vehicle, though the bullets in the magazine had been loaded backwards and would not have fired.
In the completely separate cartel case, Det Insp Browne said yesterday that after receiving confidential information, gardai put a surveillance operation in place and raided a warehouse at Greenogue Business Park, on Grants Drive, Rathcoole, on January 24, 2017.
Jonathan Harding (45), of McNeill Court, Sallins, Co Kildare, and James Walsh (33), of Neilstown Drive, Clondalkin, both previously pleaded guilty at the Special Criminal Court to possessing nine revolvers, four pistols, a sub-machine gun, an assault rifle and various ammunition magazines.
Last January, Harding, who is also known as Rocket Man, was sentenced to 10 years in prison with one year suspended while Walsh was sentenced to nine years with one suspended.
Ruth is originally from a decent Kilkenny family but had been living in Kildare, the court heard.
Det Insp Browne said five firearms were found during the search and they were laid out on cardboard boxes in the loft area of the warehouse.
None of these firearms were connected to the defendant, he added.
Other firearms were found on two other cardboard boxes nearby, which were labelled "box 1" and "box 2".
Two assault rifles were on "box 2" as well as a bloodstained bag that contained a Rossi revolver, a Glock automatic pistol and various calibre ammunition.
The items were sent to Forensic Science Ireland and swabbed for DNA purposes.
A radio transmitter was also discovered on the mezzanine level of the unit, and it was found to have Ruth's DNA on it.
The witness told the court that a Ford Focus was also on the premises, and there was bloodstaining inside the passenger door which matched the defendant's DNA.
Ruth was arrested by gardai at the Amber Springs Hotel in Gorey, Co Wex- ford, on May 7, 2017, and detained at Clondalkin Garda Station.
Det Insp Browne said little evidence was provided during Ruth's interviews, but he told gardai that he had an accident when he was in the Ford Focus which had caused the blood.
However, the defendant said he was not aware of the car being at Greenogue Business Park.
The DNA profile generated from Ruth's buccal swabs matched the DNA recovered from the revolver as well as the two plastic bags.
Ruth's DNA profile also matched the profile generated from the glove, the radio and the bloodstaining inside the Ford Focus.
The court heard that Ruth had 29 previous convictions.