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DNA tests on cache of seven handguns linked to Kinahan mobsters in Dublin

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Some of the weapons found in the cache

Some of the weapons found in the cache

Some of the weapons found in the cache

Gardai are hopeful that detailed tests carried out on a cache of guns found on open ground in west Dublin will link significant gangland figures to serious crimes.

The seven weapons - six semi-automatic pistols and a revolver - are being connected to the Kinahan cartel.

They were stored together in a container and were all said to be in good working order.

The haul was discovered by officers from the Drugs and Organised Crime Bureau (Docb) in an intelligence-led operation on Wednesday evening.

Gardai believe the guns were being kept there in a hide-out rather than in transit for a move to another location.

The guns were taken to the garda's national technical bureau where they underwent examination yesterday.

Forensic experts are carrying out biometric tests, including DNA matching, on the guns to help them identify anybody who had been in contact with them.

Ballistic tests will also take place to determine if any of the guns have been used in recent crimes.

The find was described as highly significant in the fight against organised crime.

Officers said the seizure had taken a deadly haul off the streets and reduced the likelihood, at least temporarily, of further gangland bloodshed and a loss of life.

Plot

At the same time, the results of the tests on the guns could be a key determining factor in some big players in organised crime being brought before the courts to face serious offences.

The find brings the number of weapons seized by members of Docb so far this year to 20.

The seizure is the latest in a series of blows to the Kinahan crime mob in the past few days.

Earlier this week, the Special Criminal Court imposed sentences totalling 19 years on three Kinahan associates who took part in a cartel plot to kill Patsy Hutch.

Mr Justice Hunt said the gang operated in cells or sub-cells based on a hierarchy and was prepared to use violence, up to and including murder, to achieve its aims.

Gardai also confirmed they were building up a substantial dossier on gang boss Daniel Kinahan, with the aim of using anti-gangland legislation to charge him with directing an organised crime group, as well as trying to gather sufficient evidence to link him to specific crimes.

That legislation is also being used against other suspected high-ranking members of the criminal organisation.

After the Special Criminal Court convictions, Assistant Commissioner John O'Driscoll, head of special crime operations, said: "The people in the hierarchy of the crime group will be targeted and, while I may not mention any name in particular until such time as there are criminal charges, if we gather sufficient evidence, clearly the hierarchy of these organised crime groups is being targeted by us.

Unrelenting

"It is ultimately our aim to dismantle the entire crime group."

Commenting yesterday on the guns find, Mr O'Driscoll, said: "The undertaking of this operation leading to the discovery of a significant quantity of firearms reflects the Garda Siochana's unrelenting efforts in tackling serious and organised crime.

"We are determined to keep people safe from those who would use firearms to endanger life."