Kinahan cartel ‘lieutenant’ Liam Byrne extradited to UK on weapons charges

Byrne, who is from Dublin, was arrested in June whilst eating in a restaurant in the Alcudia area of Mallorca

Liam Byrne is taken into custody in the UK following his extradition from Spain. Photograph: National Crime Agency

Liam Byrne, the alleged leader of the Kinahan cartel’s Irish operations, has been extradited from Spain to the UK to stand trial for alleged firearms offences.

The Dubliner’s extradition occurred on Tuesday, according to Britain’s National Crime Agency (NCA), and he has already appeared before Westminster Magistrates Court where he was remanded in custody until January 8th.

The criminal charges he faces relate to the alleged supply of firearms to other crime gangs.

The NCA obtained arrest warrants after messages on encrypted messaging service Encrochat indicated that Mr Byrne (43) was potentially involved in the supply and acquisition of firearms. The messaging network was favoured by organised criminals until it was infiltrated by international law enforcement in 2020.


“The arrest and extradition of Liam Byrne highlights the NCA’s ongoing work to target the alleged criminal activities of the Kinahan organised crime group,” said Craig Turner, deputy director of investigations at the NCA.

Mr Byrne, who was arrested while eating in a restaurant in the Alcudia area of Mallorca in early June while on a family holiday, was escorted to the UK by members the NCA’s joint international crime centre. He had flown into Palma Airport from Dubai in the United Arab Emirates on May 26th.

Spanish judges approve Kinahan gang leader Liam Byrne’s extradition to the UKOpens in new window ]

He was named in the Dublin High Court as a “trusted lieutenant of Daniel Kinahan and the Kinahan organised crime group”. His brother, David Byrne (34) was shot dead by the Hutch gang at the Regency Hotel, north Dublin, in a 2016 Kinahan-Hutch feud attack.

While Mr Byrne, a married father from Crumlin, fled Ireland for Britain in the aftermath of that attack, his home and other assets were seized by the Criminal Assets Bureau.

Liam Byrne: Daniel Kinahan’s lieutenant in DublinOpens in new window ]

British law enforcement soon began investigating him and he fled from Britain to Dubai. Last June he flew from Dubai to Mallorca with his family but was arrested at the request of the NCA.

He now faces several charges in Britain, including conspiring to: possess a firearm without a certificate; possess ammunition for a firearm without a certificate; possess a prohibited weapon; possess prohibited ammunition; pervert the course of justice.

One of his co-accused is his nephew Jack Kavanagh (22). He was arrested in Málaga just days before Mr Byrne while on a stopover as he travelled from Dubai to Turkey. His arrest also followed a request from the British authorities.

Mr Kavanagh grew up in Tamworth in Britain in a Dublin family and is the son of Thomas “Bomber” Kavanagh, a man jailed for 21 years in Britain last year for his leading role in smuggling the Kinahans’ drugs into the UK. Thomas Kavanagh effectively ran the Kinahan cartel’s UK operation and he is also one of the men set to stand trial over the gun running-allegations.

Sign up for push alerts and have the best news, analysis and comment delivered directly to your phone

Conor Lally

Conor Lally

Conor Lally is Security and Crime Editor of The Irish Times

Colin Gleeson

Colin Gleeson

Colin Gleeson is an Irish Times reporter