Weapons cache linked to INLA figure, say gardai
Thursday October 04 2007
An arms and explosives find, uncovered by the Garda Special Branch in central Dublin, has been linked to a major INLA figure in the capital.
The cache was to have been used by the notorious dissident republican as part of his plans to step up an extortion campaign in the capital.
The suspect has an INLA gang based mainly in Tallaght but has been living recently in the south inner city.
Garda intelligence indicates that he has been attempting to lure former renegade republican associates and members of crime gangs to join his gang over the past couple of months.
He is believed to have organised a number of attacks involving pipe bombs and other improvised explosive devices in Dublin over the last year.
The attacks have been aimed partly at extortion targets, who refused to hand over money to the gang leader, but the explosives have also been used by him to settle grievances.
Senior anti-terrorist officers also believe he has been supplying other devices to crime gangs around the city.
The find was made in an apartment at Stanhope Street, off Manor Street, in the north inner city on Tuesday night.
It followed a lengthy intelligence-gathering operation involving the Special Branch and the national surveillance unit, and was co-ordinated by the force's crime and security branch at headquarters in the Phoenix Park.
Detectives recovered two handguns and three explosive devices as well as fake security guard uniforms and balaclava helmets.
A 30-year-old man detained at the scene was still being held for questioning last night at the Bridewell garda station under section 30 of the Offences Against the State Act.
The detained man is from Dublin and had not been known to gardai prior to his arrest.
One of the attacks linked to the INLA figure involved a military grenade, which exploded at Park Terrace in the heart of the Coombe district.
This attack, which took place last June, is thought to have stemmed from a relatively minor row between a criminal and his mother-in-law.
Garda forensic detectives and Army ordnance officers later established a link between the Coombe grenade and another used in a gang feud in Crumlin that was related to a row among prisoners in Mountjoy jail.
The grenades are thought to have been part of a batch manufactured in the former Yugoslavia and smuggled into the country by dissident republicans.
The upsurge in violent incidents where grenades and pipebombs were used prompted by the garda authorities to set up a special team to co-ordinate inquiries into the attacks in Dublin and also in Limerick.
The garda team includes members of the Special Branch, the national bureau of criminal investigation, the technical bureau and local detectives.
The INLA figure is also listed as a prime suspect for a terrorist murder in Britain.