Three members of a northside gang suspected of being the most prolific cash-in-transit mob in the country have been arrested following a surveillance operation by gardai.
The trio remained in custody in Finglas and Blanchardstown garda stations last night where they were being questioned by detectives from the Drugs and Organised Crime Bureau, who have been monitoring their movements for weeks.
Yesterday's operation saw heavily armed members of the Emergency Response Unit pounce on the suspects just seconds after a security company employee was robbed at gunpoint in Clonee, Co Meath.
A senior source said a gang member threatened an employee with "what is suspected to be a realistic-looking imitation firearm" and demanded a cash box from the terrified worker.
The raider obtained the box, which contained €30,000 in cash, but before he and his accomplice could get back to a waiting getaway vehicle, armed officers arrested the suspects and recovered an imitation firearm and electronic signal blocker.
The suspected raider, accomplice and a getaway driver were all detained at the scene while two cars were seized.
All the money was recovered and no one was injured in the incident.
Last night, senior sources said the same gang, who are understood to have a "core" of four members, are the chief suspects for a botched cash-in-transit robbery in Tullow, Co Carlow, in late November, in which they failed to get money.
They are also suspected of a successful €26,000 heist at on Taney Road, Dundrum, at 10.35am on December 13.
"An employee transporting a cash box was approached and allegedly threatened by a male armed with a firearm," gardai announced at the time in relation to the south Dublin robbery.
"The suspect then stole the cash box and fled the scene in a white van.
"The van was found burnt out on Taney Crescent a short time later," they said in an appeal for information.
Last night, sources said that the mob, who have close links to the Finglas area, are suspected of a number of other similar crimes in recent months.
However, they are not linked to the armed robbery of €40,000 from a cash-in-transit van in the Cornmarket area of the south inner city on December 10.
Last month, the Herald revealed gardai had arrested a 29-year-old thug with links to the Kinahan cartel in relation to that crime.
In relation to yesterday's Clonee bust, gardai were questioning the suspected getaway driver (35) as well as a 33-year-old man and 30-year-old man who are from Finglas and are well known to officers.