Prominent areas of the south inner city have become "like The Walking Dead" as desperate addicts travel from all over the capital to buy drugs due a major shortage caused by Covid-19, the Herald can reveal.
A senior source described "apocalyptic scenes" in the area around Thomas, Francis and Meath Streets over the weekend, which is policed by Kevin Street gardai.
Ruthless young criminals with links to the Kinahan cartel have been taking advantage of the shortage in supply and been "making a fortune" from drug dealing in the area, which is close to some of Dublin's most popular tourist attractions.
"The place was full of drug addicts who had travelled into town to buy drugs and because there are much less people out and about because of the coronavirus regulations, the addicts really stood out," the source told the Herald.
"It looked like end of the world stuff, it's like The Walking Dead. Gardai have received reports of major shortage of drugs in other areas of the city, such as Ballymun, and people are travelling from other areas into the south inner city."
Detectives believe that a prolific street-dealing gang have a "major stash of drugs" and are "making a fortune" as other mobs run out due to supply problems during the coronavirus pandemic.
"They seem to have the lot - heroin, coke, crack cocaine, illegal tablets and cannabis - business is booming for them," the source said.
"The belief is they managed to get in a large stash before the health crisis began in earnest."
The drug dealing is being organised by criminal networks who have strong traditional links to the cartel.
One of them is an out-of-control teenager who has very close links to Liam Brannigan (37), who was jailed for eight years last Friday for conspiring with Kinahan cartel murder plotters to assassinate Dublin man Gary Hanley.
Brannigan, of Bride Street, Dublin 8, was convicted by the non-jury court in February of conspiring to murder Mr Hanley at a location within the State between September 15 and November 6, 2017.
Another criminal involved in the dealing network is a 29-year-old "thug and enforcer" who was arrested after officers recovered two handguns and ammunition in a raid on a south inner city apartment in February.
A 27-year-old from Crumlin, who was arrested for a recent brutal attack on gardai is also suspected of "controlling" the street-level drug distribution.
Gardai have been involved in a long-running investigation into the thugs after up to half a dozen people who owed them cash were brutally assaulted last year in separate incidents, including a savage knife attack on one young man.
Sources say that a file on these assaults is in the "final stages" and almost ready to be sent to the DPP.
The Herald previously revealed that gardai have established that more than half a dozen boys aged between 10 and 12 are dealing crack cocaine, heroin and other substances for the ruthless mob.
Gardai believe the children are terrified of the violent criminals, who have multiple convictions in most cases.
Another area of huge concern to gardai in the same district is the Basin Street flats complex where teenage drug dealers are operating openly on a daily basis.