Irish crime cartel boss Liam Byrne has been seized by Spanish police while on a secret trip to see his family in Mallorca.
Byrne – whose brother David was shot dead at the Regency Hotel in Dublin seven years ago – is said to be a member of the notorious Kinahan drug gang.
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.
Byrne had travelled to Mallorca on 26th May on a flight to Palma from Dubai where he has been in hiding from a UK arrest warrant.
Police say they were able to track him through a car they expected him to be using.
Spanish police – working with the UK’s National Crime Agency – described him as a “priority fugitive”.
He was reportedly one of two suspects arrested by police.
Spanish police said in a statement on Monday, 5th June: “The National Police detained a high-priority fugitive for the United Kingdom belonging to the Kinahan clan.”
Byrne is said to have handled weapons and firearms trafficking for the ultra-violent cartel.
It continued: “He led a criminal organisation dedicated to firearms trafficking in the UK, and supplying other criminal organisations with weapons.
“Once evidence of his leadership in the organisation was obtained, following the arrest of several members and the discovery of a hideout with firearms and ammunition, he remained a fugitive in Dubai until he was located on the island of Majorca.
“On 5th June 2023, National Police officers arrested the dangerous Irish fugitive in Majorca.
“He is a member of the Kinahan clan and a high-priority target of the UK’s National Crime Agency (NCA), for leading a criminal organisation involved in firearms trafficking in the UK.
“The fugitive led a weapons trafficking organisation that purchased numerous pistols and submachine guns to later sell them to other organizations.
“Many of these firearms were specifically purchased with systems that would not leave fingerprint marks, making it difficult for the police to trace them.
“The magnitude of this organisation was such that they once received an order from another organization for 14 firearms in a single batch.
“During the NCA investigation in the UK and Northern Ireland, several members of the organisation to which the arrested individual belongs were apprehended for these crimes and drug trafficking.
“A hidden stash with numerous handguns, submachine guns, and a large quantity of ammunition was discovered.”
The statement also said: “He travelled to Mallorca for a family meeting.”
The statement went on: “Once the NCA investigation concluded and all the necessary evidence against the fugitive was gathered, he fled to Dubai, where he continued to maintain his lavish lifestyle and operate within the organisation from a distance.
“After a lengthy investigation, the NCA discovered that the fugitive had recently travelled to Majorca to secretly meet with his family.
The British agents then contacted the Fugitive Location Section of the National Police to inquire about his whereabouts.
“Given the fugitive’s criminal profile, his dangerousness, and the possibility that he could acquire firearms, an investigation was initiated.
“After several inquiries, the agents managed to locate a vehicle that the fugitive could be using.
“By focusing the search in that area, they were able to locate the fugitive and, after organising the operation, successfully apprehended him.”