An Irishman in Spain is reported to be at the centre of a drugs and arms find by gardaí following raids on premises in Dublin and Meath yesterday.

Nine men were arrested in the operation where six firearms, including handguns and a machine pistol, were seized and a large quantity of cannabis, ecstasy and a substance believed to be cocaine were recovered.

The drugs have an estimated street value of at least €3m.

Four industrial units in Dublin and Meath were also searched.

Gardaí say five of the men arrested are key figures in the drug trafficking gang - storemen and suppliers - the others arrested are believed to be customers.

The gang is linked to a major international drug trafficker, an Irishman based in Spain.

The Garda National Drugs Unit has been investigating the activities of the gang for the past few months.

At around 7am yesterday, they searched four industrial units in Navan and Dublin, three of which were being used as drugs storage depots.

Throughout the day they stopped and searched cars and vans all over Dublin and found drugs and guns concealed in hidden compartments.

Six firearms including Russian made handguns, a small pistol and a machine pistol were seized.

They found 150kg of cannabis herb, another 200kg of resin, around 100,000 ecstasy tablets and a powder substance believed to be cocaine.

The nine men, aged between 29 and 46, are being detained at Blanchardstown, Clondalkin, Finglas, Ballymun and Store Street Stations.