By David Raleigh
Gardaí have recovered a gun and arrested three men, including a member of a notorious criminal family, in a crackdown on organised crime in Limerick.
The gun was discovered at the rear of a flat, at Main Street Bruff, Co Limerick, situated around 34km from Limerick city.
The firearm was discovered "in wrapping", reliable sources said.
The weapon was put into a garda evidence bag at the scene and taken by gardai to Limerick city where it will be transported on to garda headquarters in Dublin for forensic testing.
Plainclothes detectives and local informed Gardaí were backed up by an armed support unit.
The officers did not draw their weapons but carried out searches of the flat's interior and a rear garden.
A well-known criminal family from Limerick city, who moved to Bruff several number of months ago, are part of the focus of the probe.
However, the earlier arrest of a man, from another notorious second criminal family, on Sunday morning following a high speed chase in Limerick city is seen as "significant" to the ongoing investigation.
The man and two other associates were pursued by Gardaí after their high powered Audi car failed to stop for officers at Ballyclough, around 6km from the city, around 11.45am.
The car came to a halt after the driver lost control and ploughed into a wall at Fr Russell Road in Limerick city.
The three men are being questioned at garda stations in the city about ongoing organised crime in Limerick city and county.
Chief Superintendent David Sheahan described the seizure of the gun and the arrest of the three suspects as "very welcome".
In targeting organised crime, he said, Gardaí "always need to be vigilant".
"We will continue to monitor people in respect of their movements and activities," he added.
A statement released by the garda press office said tha a vehicle was seized during an operation in Limerick city and county and is currently being technically examined.
The men are being held at Roxboro Road Garda station under section 30 of the offences against the State Act.
A number of searches are underway in the Bruff area.
Gardaí said the investigation was "ongoing".