Two More Arrested In Guns And Drugs Bust

Gardaí have made further inroads into gang-related organised international crime with two more men arrested as part of a cross-Europe operation targeting organised crime.

Already, the PSNI have seized 14 pistols and separately arrested a 34-year-old man in Belfast's Europa Hotel, while Gardaí seized 27 other firearms in the Republic and heroin worth about £3.25m at the same time as a 42-year-old man was detained in north Dublin by Garda officers.

Already, the man arrested on Tuesday in Santry in relation to the investigation is set for court and will go before Blanchardstown District Court this morning while yesterday, another two men in their 30s were arrested in Birr, Co Offaly and Roscrea, Co Tipperary.

They are now being detained at Blanchardstown Garda Station under Section 2 of the Drug Trafficking Act.

The man arrested in Northern Ireland on Tuesday was also from the Republic.

He was arrested as part of the overall operation and the guns uncovered at a separate location.

Dutch police were also thought to have been involved in the operation.

Garda Commissioner Fachtna Murphy said the arrests had damaged a powerful European drugs trafficking network.

"We believe that this operation has made significant inroads into an international organised crime gang involved on a large scale in the importation of drugs and firearms into Ireland and the United Kingdom," he said.

Detectives suspect a leading and well-known Irish criminal, presently serving a prison sentence in the Republic, may have been connected to the drugs and gun running operation.

Gardai said last night that a "mini-arsenal of weapons was taken off the streets" including four automatic handguns, silencers and pistols.

Gardai, the PSNI and Dutch police were all involved in the intelligence and surveillance-led operation which has run for several months.

This is believed to be a significant operation, targeting those involved in organised crime in Northern Ireland, the Republic of Ireland and Europe.

The overall investigation has apparently been well planned and has been ongoing for some time and involved close liaison between An Gardai Siochana, the Dutch police service, the UK's HMRC and its Irish opposite number, the Irish Revenue Commissioners.

The Republic's Justice Minister Dermot Ahern praised the success of the operation and congratulated the Garda Commissioner and the international police forces concerned.


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