Specialist gardai lay in wait for days to try and snare a criminal gang that had left five deadly weapons near a service station in south Dublin – but eventually decided to seize the guns when no-one showed up to collect them.
Five handguns and a machine gun were seized in Dublin after detectives uncovered a so-called ‘dead letterbox’ gangland operation in Rathcoole.
It is understood that Blanchardstown gardai, assisted by officers from Harcourt Square, received intelligence about the major firearms drop-off, which was left for pick-up several days ago.
The firearms were found during a search operation on the Naas Road in Rathcoole.
A senior source explained: ‘There’s intelligence that criminals agreed to make this serious guns haul drop-off for other criminals.
“But it was all to be done in a ‘dead letterbox’ manner.
“This means that there was no change of hands between the criminals.
“Burner phones were used. One individual dropped off the weapons at an agreed location, hidden.
“Gardai then lay in wait to catch the person who was due to collect them. That person never showed up.
“So yesterday morning gardai moved to seize the weapons, as it was dangerous to leave them where they were as the days went on,” a senior source said.
A garda spokesperson said: “Members of the Detective Unit Blanchardstown Garda Station, as part of an investigation into an organised crime group, carried out a search at a site on the L6065 on the Naas Road, Rathcoole.
“During the course of the search, six firearms were recovered concealed not far from a nearby service station.
“Initial examination of the firearms indicate they are comprised of five handguns and one machine gun.
“A preliminary technical examination of the firearms has been carried out and further tests are awaited.”
One line of inquiry is that the guns are connected to the so-called ‘Monkey gang’ in Finglas which has been riddled by garda informers.
This has led to a number of arrests in recent months, sources say.