Gardaí believe they have prevented up to 12 murder attempts in the Kinahan-Hutch feud, which has claimed at least eight lives,.
It follows the seizure on Monday of a submachine gun at a purported safe house used by one of the criminal groups, thought to be the Kinahan cartel.
Gardaí said the seizure of the high-powered weapon, found in an apartment in a leafy north Dublin suburb, had “saved lives” and that it could have been intended for use in a feud attack.
Capable of firing 600 rounds a minute, gardaí said the gun was an “indiscriminate” weapon that could injure or kill unintended and intended targets. Gardaí estimated previously that they had prevented five feud murder attempts.
However, the Irish Examiner understands that the number of thwarted planned hits now stands at 10 at least, and possibly 12.
“This shows that an awful lot is going on behind the scenes,” said a garda source. “As well as the checkpoints, houses are being searched, cars are being stopped, people are being disrupted, arrests are being made — a lot of which doesn’t make the headlines.”
The source said this was due to the resources the Government and Garda HQ have put into tackling the feud.
“Like the Veronica Guerin investigation, when you throw money at an investigation it spreads out,” he said. “You have people on the ground, lifting people and shaking trees. People [criminals] are finding it difficult to do their ordinary business and their extraordinary business of having people shot.”
Figures published yesterday show that the garda overtime bill for Dublin has risen by 62% or €7m, so far this year, to €18.5m, directly in response to the Kinahan-Hutch feud.
This has funded 24-hour roaming armed checkpoints and patrols in the north inner city and the south-west city, the bases of the Hutch and Kinahan gangs.
The Kinahan cartel has been linked to seven of the eight feud murders, three of them Hutch family members as well as two completely innocent people who were shot mistakenly.
The latter include homeless father Martin O’Rourke, shot last April, and Irish tourist Trevor O’Neill, murdered last week in Spain.
The checkpoints and the patrols, involving armed regional support units and the Emergency Response Unit, have been an almost constant feature in the south west inner city and the neighbouring areas of Crumlin and Drimnagh as well as the north east inner city.
They are often assisted by the Garda helicopter and local units.
The operation on Monday, targeting an apartment in upmarket Castleknock, was carried out by the Drugs and Organised Crime Bureau and the Serious Crime Task Force.
The taskforce, headed by a detective inspector, was set up to combat the gangs involved in the Kinahan-Hutch feud and comes under the wing the bureau.
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