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search op Six handguns found in garden may have links to feud gangs


Guns seized

Guns seized

Guns seized

SIX handguns found hidden in the back garden of a house may have been destined for use in the Drogheda feud.

Gardaí believe that they have disrupted the activities of one of the biggest crime gangs operating in the midlands after the seizure of drugs and firearms.

Officers from the Armed Support Unit were involved in a search yesterday in which six handguns were found hidden in the back garden of a house in Mullingar, Co Westmeath.

A senior source said last night that one line in the investigation is that some of the weapons were destined for participants in the Drogheda feud, which has claimed four lives but has been relatively stable in recent months.

However, the source stressed that the target of the operation is "a main holder and distributor of guns and drugs and has been getting bigger all the time.

"It is no surprise that intelligence now indicates that he has links to the feuding gangs in Drogheda but gardaí are also investigating his links to gangs in Galway.

"He had been under surveillance for some time. This individual would be not well known on a national level but he is running a major enterprise," the source added.

Gardaí yesterday announced details of the major seizure.

"Gardaí have seized €301,000 of suspected cocaine and heroin and six handguns during searches of a residence in Mullingar, Co Westmeath, on Tuesday morning and Monday evening," a spokesman said.

"The search of this residence, which follows a lengthy surveillance operation targeting persons involved in the sale and supply of drugs in the midlands area, was carried out by Mullingar gardaí attached to the Detective and Drugs Units and assisted by the Armed Support Unit and the Garda Dog Unit.

"At approximately 9pm on Monday, a search operation commenced and during the course of this search, approximately €245,000 of suspected cocaine and €56,000 of suspected heroin was seized by gardaí.

"All drugs seized are subject to analysis. Two men (early 30s and late 20s) were arrested at the scene. They are both currently detained at Mullingar garda station.

"A follow up search of the residence was carried out and six handguns were seized by gardaí. They will be sent to the Ballistics Unit for analysis," he added.

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This was the most significant seizure by gardaí based in Mullingar since the seizure of €135,000 worth of amphetamines and €2,600 worth of cannabis last May.

"There are a number of towns in the midlands whose location makes them a handy place for organised crime gangs to operate in," a source said last night.

"Mullingar certainly falls into that category because even though it has easy access to the western region it is only located just over an hour's drive from the capital."

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