Liam Byrne, 42, and Jack Kavanagh, 22, two men wanted by the UK’s National Crime Agency (NCA) on suspicion of firearms offences, have been arrested in Spain, the NCA announced on Monday, June 5.
Byrne, 42, from Dublin, who is thought to be one of the most trusted members of the Kinahan organized crime group, was arrested on Sunday evening in the Alcudia area of Mallorca while eating in a restaurant with family members, the NCA said. He had flown into Palma Airport from Dubai, UAE, on May 26.
Kavanagh, 22, from Tamworth, Staffordshire and another suspected member of the crime group, was arrested by officers from the Spanish National Police last Tuesday (May 30) at Malaga Airport while transiting from Dubai to Turkey, the NCA said.
The arrests follow an NCA intelligence-led investigation, supported by the Spanish National Police and officers from An Garda Síochána in Ireland.
The NCA said it had obtained Trade and Co-operation Agreement (TACA) warrants after EncroChat messages showed they were believed to be involved in the supply and acquisition of firearms.
At the time of the NCA's statement on Monday, Byrne and Kavanagh were in custody while extradition proceedings continue.
Kay Mellor, Regional Head of Investigations at the National Crime Agency said: “This investigation is part of the NCA’s ongoing work targeting the Kinahan crime group.
“Liam Byrne and Jack Kavanagh have been evading justice for a number of years, but have now been arrested in relation to serious firearms offences.
“We have an excellent relationship with the Spanish National Police and will continue to work closely with our international partners to ensure those who think they can stay under the radar have no place to hide.”
Two men wanted by the NCA on suspicion of firearms offences have been arrested in Spain.
Liam Byrne, from Dublin, who is thought to be one of the most trusted members of the Kinahan organised crime group, was arrested on Sunday in Mallorca.June 5, 2023
Meanwhile, Spain’s Policía Nacional said on Monday that its agents had arrested "a dangerous Irish fugitive member of the Kinahan clan ... for leading a criminal organization that was dedicated to trafficking firearms."
Neither Byrne nor Kavanagh was explicitly named in the Policía Nacional's statement on Monday.
Responding to the recent arrests, Assistant Commissioner Justin Kelly, who commands Organise and Serious Crime in An Garda Síochána, said: “The arrest of Liam Byrne is a particularly significant development in the efforts of international law enforcement to dismantle the operations of the Kinahan Organised Crime Group.
“These arrests are a demonstration of An Garda Siochana’s continued cooperation with our colleagues in the National Crime Agency.”
According to RTÉ, Byrne’s brother David, also believed to have been a member of the Kinahan association, was killed during the infamous Regency Hotel shooting in Dublin in 2016. The shooting escalated the violent Hutch-Kinahan feud.
Byrne reportedly fled Ireland in 2019 when his home in Crumlin, Dublin was being seized by the Criminal Assets Bureau (CAB) in a major assets confiscation case that also targeted some of his associates.
Unpublished High Court rulings obtained by The Irish Times in 2019 named Byrne as one of the four main protagonists in the Kinahan-Hutch feud.
Elsewhere, the US Department of the Treasury announced last year that it was sanctioning the "notorious" Kinahan Organized Crime Group and offering $5 million for information on the group's criminal activities.