Key Kinahan cartel lieutenant arrested by armed gardai over €1m haul of cars and assets
Published 10/09/2016 | 09:21
A senior lieutenant of the Kinahan cartel has been arrested by armed gardai at his home in south Dublin.
Liam Byrne (35) was detained by members of the Criminal Assets Bureau (CAB) in relation to the seizure of more than €1m worth of vehicles and assets earlier this year.
Armed officers were present during the arrest due to Byrne's volatile nature. However, it passed off without incident and he was last night being held at Crumlin Garda Station.
His brother, David Byrne (33), was shot dead at the Regency Hotel in Drumcondra on February 5 after men dressed in fake garda uniforms and armed with automatic weapons stormed in.
The gangland figure, who is a first cousin of 'Fat' Freddie Thompson (35), is rarely sighted in the capital and spends much of his time in Spain and Dubai.
Liam Roe (37), also a first cousin of Liam Byrne, was previously arrested in relation to the operation.
The Drimnagh man spent several hours being questioned at Crumlin Garda Station before being released without charge. A file is currently being prepared for the DPP.
The massive CAB-led seizure was carried out on March 9 and targeted a number of the Kinahan cartel's main associates.
Some of the country's main national units were involved, including the heavily-armed Emergency Response Unit (ERU), the Special Detective Unit as well as the Drugs and Organised Crime Bureau.
Local gardai from the Dublin Metropolitan Region (DMR) South and DMR North Central Divisions were also involved in the operation.
At least 10 Rolex watches and other high-end jewellery items, 29 cars and 4x4s as well as six motorbikes were seized when gardai raided 12 homes and six businesses in a series of dawn raids.
The majority of vehicles were seized from LS Active Car Sales in the Bluebell Industrial Estate in west Dublin, a now dissolved business that was registered to Liam Byrne.
The vehicles seized included Mercedes, BMW, VW Golf, Lexus and Landcruiser models, while two of the six motorbikes recovered are each worth more than €30,000.
They are currently being stored in a compound at the Defence Forces Training Centre in the Curragh Camp under armed guard.
When armed officers stormed Byrne's Raleigh Square home, they discovered a panic room. Substantial investments had also been made in other security measures, including bullet-proof windows, reinforced doors and CCTV systems.
Several Rolex watches and premium bottles of champagne were also seized.
A betting slip for a wager of €38,000 for a Liverpool v Manchester United football match on the day of the raid was also found.
Six offices were searched. They were used by solicitors and accountants who were not suspected of being involved in any crime but were believed to be facilitating some of the targeted figures with property transactions.
Also seized for detailed examination were computers, files and documentation relating to the property transactions and other business dealings.
Sources at the time confirmed that the raids had been planned months in advance, before the gangland feud erupted between the Kinahan cartel and the Hutch gang.
The two Kinahan lieutenants who have been arrested in relation to the CAB raid were previously targeted by members of the Hutch gang in a botched hit.
Liam Roe, who gardai believe was standing outside the Red Cow Hotel with Liam Byrne, was targeted by a gunman during an event at the venue last November.
A hitman, believed to be a member of the Hutch gang, approached the pair and tried to fire a number of shots, but his gun jammed.
The incident led to a major escalation in tensions between the warring criminal out- fits.