| 9.6°C Dublin

Driver arrested after five guns found in car but two passengers evade capture

Close

Commissioner Drew Harris

Commissioner Drew Harris

Collins Dublin, Gareth Chaney

Commissioner Drew Harris

A Clondalkin criminal remained in custody at Tallaght Garda Station last night after the seizure of four shotguns and a revolver.

A hunt was continuing for two suspects who fled from the car that the arrested man was driving when he was stopped on Tuesday night.

The 41-year-old man in custody is a known associate of a major Co Meath-based drugs trafficker who is originally from Ballyfermot and who has been a major target for the Criminal Assets Bureau (CAB).

However, the Clondalkin man has nothing like his older pal's track record and is known to gardai for offences such as assault and larceny and is not considered a major criminal.

"This is a pretty major firearms seizure - one of the biggest of the year so far," a senior source said last night.

"It seems most likely that he was moving these weapons for a local gang involved in burglaries and drug dealing.

"Three of the shotguns that were found had been previously stolen in rural burglaries so the belief is that he was moving these weapons from one location to another on behalf of the local gang rather than his more senior criminal associate."

Officers busted the suspect close to the home of a notorious 23-year-old Tallaght criminal who has multiple burglary convictions. One line in the investigation is whether the Tallaght burglar is involved with the stolen shotguns.

Pursuit

Gardai announced details of the seizure yesterday.

"At approximately 9.50pm, while on routine mobile patrol, gardai observed a vehicle driving at speed in the Tallaght area," a garda spokesman said.

"Following a short pursuit, the offending vehicle stopped at Ardmore Gardens, Tallaght.

The driver remained in the vehicle while the front and rear occupants made their escape on foot.

"The vehicle was subsequently searched and four shotguns, three of which were previously reported to be stolen, and a revolver with ammunition were seized."

Gardai involved in the bust were part of units that have been ordered to be involved in increasingly high-visibility patrols all over the country in response to coronavirus.

Garda HQ said its initial response to the crisis will see a 20pc increase in garda availability, resulting in more checkpoints generally and greater visibility in rural areas.

This is expected to be achieved by longer shifts, the accelerated use of student gardai, and the hiring of an additional 200 vehicles.

Split

The plan, announced by Garda Commissioner Drew Harris last Friday, replaces the current 10-hour shift over five units with a new 12-hour shift over four units.

Under the new roster, the local divisional commander can either split the fifth shift over the four units or assign it to rural duties.

Garda HQ said the measures will result in a "20pc uplift" in garda resources available.