Dramatic picture shows the moment AK47s were seized
This is the moment when armed detectives swooped on two vehicles during a dramatic raid that led to the seizure of several high-powered automatic weapons.
Our picture shows members of the elite Special Detective Unit (SDU) as they search a black Audi SUV and a saloon car after ramming the vehicles off a road in Co Meath.
Dozens of armed detectives from both regional and national units were involved in the evening raids during which four automatic and semi-automatic weapons as well as more than 500 rounds of ammunition were recovered.
Last night, gardai were continuing to question two close associates of convicted killer Derek 'Del Boy' Hutch, as well as another individual who has close connections to members of the Hutch gang.
One of the men has been described by sources as one of Ireland's most dangerous criminals, and is currently before the courts in relation to gangland activity.
Two of the individuals detained had only arrived back to Ireland hours before the raids.
Members of the Hutch mob, led by Gerry 'The Monk' Hutch, are currently embroiled in a deadly feud with the Kinahan Cartel.
The seizures have been seen as a serious blow to the crime gang who have already suffered three fatalities during the feud.
The two vehicles were stopped near the Plantagen Garden Centre in Dunboyne, Co Meath, shortly after 5pm on Thursday evening.
During searches of the SUV and the car, two AK47 assault rifles - similar to those used in the Regency Hotel attack - were found.
A follow-up search was conducted in the St Oliver Park area of Ratoath, which is close to where two vehicles believed to have been used in the fatal shooting of Noel 'Kingsize' Duggan were found burnt-out.
During the course of this raid, two semi-automatic handguns, a large quantity of ammunition and as a number of silencers were recovered.
Gardai are now confident that the weapons were being transported to a secure location ahead of a planned gangland hit.
Senior sources also told the Herald that a high-ranking member of the rival Kinahan cartel lives in the vicinity of where the two seizures were carried out.