Gardaí believe Mark Wolf, a far-right sympathiser and paedophile living in Dublin, was planning to purchase explosives in Ireland for a terrorist attack.
Wolf, a UK national, was jailed for ten years by Judge Martin Nolan last month after he was caught in possession of firearms parts and guides for 3D printing weapons in July 2021.
Over the course of their investigation, members of the Special Detective Unit (SDU) found evidence that Wolf intended to try to acquire explosives from a commercial dealer in Ireland, The Irish Times has learned.
This included contact details found on the 37-year-old’s phones for a company which supplies explosives to the civilian market for use in excavation.
Gardaí also found a brand-new 3D printer, capable of creating further firearms components. Detectives believe Wolf was planning to print individual firearm parts to create an arsenal of completed weapons for use in the planned terrorist attack.
Wolf was also found in possession of a video recording of a live stream of the mass shooting on two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand in March 2019, along with other far-right and Nazi material, leading authorities to suspect he planned a similar attack in Ireland or the UK.
Other material included information on legal and illegal immigration and videos of extreme violence directed mainly at people of colour.
When the SDU raided Wolf’s hostel room in Gardiner Street, Dublin they found a rubber face mask, a badge showing the Garda logo and military-style body armour.
He was also found with military goggles and gloves, an array of tents and military sleeping bags and a black flag depicting the Sonnenrad or Black Sun, a popular neo-Nazi symbol used by the New Zealand mass shooter.
Gardaí also found large amounts of child abuse material.
Sentencing Wolf at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court, Judge Nolan noted that analysis of Wolf’s four phones showed he had “an interest in violent means and had hostility towards certain groups”.
Wolf is also wanted in the UK for terrorism and child abuse imagery charges
The case is noteworthy as being the first prosecution relating to 3D weapons in Ireland. The ten charges against Wolf included “possession of electronic documents relating to the assembly of a firearm”. This referred to various guides Wolf possessed on 3D printing weapons.
However he was not charged with possession of the 3D printer itself, which appeared to be newly purchased, as this is not a criminal offence.
Wolf had not yet started printing his own weapons parts. Instead he was ordering parts from overseas, including triggers, lower receivers, springs for ten magazines and items which appeared to be silencers.
For the most part, these are particularly intricate components which would be difficult to produce in a 3D printer, sources said.
Counter-terrorism detectives in the SDU became aware of these shipments and tracked them to Wolf.
“It’s clear he was planning a major operation of sorts,” a security source said. “Unless the Garda had intervened, it was only a matter of time before he had a completed firearm or multiple firearms. The one saving grace was he didn’t have any ammunition.”
Gardaí believe Wolf was working alone but that he had access to significant funds. For example, one of the gun sights he was found with costs almost €800.
He also had passports in four names, including Mark Nolan, Mark Peppard and Mark Wolfe.
Though still rare, 3D printed guns are a growing worry for European law enforcement due to how easily instructions can be obtained online. To date, no one in the Republic has been prosecuted for possession of a completed 3D weapon, although at least one dissident paramilitary group is believed to possess them in Northern Ireland.
These weapons are particularly popular in right-wing terrorist circles. As of late 2022, 11 out of the 12 most recent seizures of 3D weapons in Europe related to far right activity.