herald

Monday 26 September 2016

Key Kinahan lieutenant flees the country after arrest over €1m haul

Liam Byrne was arrested.
Liam Byrne was arrested.

A senior Kinahan associate has fled the country after being arrested by gardai investigating a €1m Criminal Assets Bureau (CAB) seizure of vehicles and property.

Liam Byrne (35) was arrested by armed gardai on Friday afternoon at his home in Crumlin.

He is the brother of David Byrne (33), who was shot dead at the Regency Hotel in February as part of the Hutch/Kinahan feud.

Since being released, Byrne has fled to a Kinahan bolt hole on the continent over fears that gardai will further target his assets and properties.

He had returned to the ­capital for a family event, but is understood to have left Ireland over the weekend as garda operations against him and his associates increases.

Armed officers were required during the arrest because of Byrne's history of violence, but his detention passed off without incident.

He was questioned at Crumlin garda station throughout Friday but was not compliant with interviewing detectives and was eventually released without charge.

The gangland figure, who is a first cousin of 'Fat' Freddie Thompson (35), is rarely sighted in the capital and spends a lot 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 a number of hours being questioned at Crumlin station before being released without charge. A file is currently being prepared for the DPP.

The massive CAB-led operation 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) and the Special Detective Unit (SDU), as well as the Drugs and Organised Crime Bureau (DOCB).

Local gardai from the DMR South and DMR North Central Divisions were also involved in the operation.

Raids

At least 10 Rolex watches and other high-end jewellery items, 29 cars and jeeps, as well as six motorbikes were seized when gardai hit 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 which was registered to Liam Byrne.

The vehicles are currently being stored in a compound at the Defence Forces Training Centre (DFTC) in the Curragh Camp under armed guard.

When armed officers stormed Byrne's Raleigh Square home, they discovered a panic room, and substantial investments were also made in security measures, including bullet-proof windows, heavily reinforced doors, and CCTV systems.

A number of Rolex ­watches and premium bottles of ­champagne were also seized. A betting slip for a €38,000 wager on a Liverpool v Manchester United match on the day of the raid was also found.

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