Liam Byrne, a key member of the Kinahan organised crime gang, has been arrested in Mallorca, Spain.
The UK’s National Crime Agency confirmed Liam Byrne was one of two suspected members of the Kinahan gang arrested in Spain.
It said in a statement: “Two men wanted by the National Crime Agency on suspicion of firearms offences have been arrested in Spain.
“Liam Byrne, 42, from Dublin, who is thought to be one of the most trusted members of the Kinahan organised crime group, was arrested on Sunday evening in the Alcudia area of Mallorca while eating in a restaurant with family members.
“He had flown into Palma Airport from Dubai, UAE, on the 26 May.
“Another suspected member of the crime group, Jack Kavanagh, 22, from Tamworth, Staffordshire, was arrested by officers from the Spanish National Police last Tuesday (30 May) at Malaga Airport while transiting from Dubai to Turkey.
“The arrests follow an NCA intelligence-led investigation, supported by the Spanish National Police and officers from An Garda Síochána in Ireland.
“The NCA 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.
“They are currently in custody while extradition proceedings continue.”
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.
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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.”
Well-placed sources said Byrne’s arrest occurred yesterday in Alcudia in the north-east of Majorca.
Byrne, who was named in Dublin’s High Court as the leader of the so-called ‘Byrne Organised Crime Group,’ is considered to be the de-facto leader of the Kinahan cartel in the UK.
Byrne is believed to have taken over from mobster Thomas ‘Bomber’ Kavanagh as the 'number two' in the hierarchy of the Kinahan cartel, and leader of its operations in the transporting of drugs across the UK and Ireland.
Kavanagh, who is Liam’s brother-in-law, is currently serving a 21-year sentence for conspiring to import millions of pounds worth of drugs.
A spokesman for Spain’s National Police in Majorca said on Monday: “·The arrest was carried out on Sunday night by the National Police’s Madrid-based Fugitives Group and the National Police’s UDYCO group which fights organised crime."