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#Encrochat: Kinahan boss Thomas ‘Bomber’ Kavanagh appears in court on major firearms charges

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THOMAS ‘Bomber’ Kavanagh has been charged in relation to firearms offences as part of the same investigation that has seen his son Jack and brother-in-law Liam Byrne fight extradition proceedings.

Kavanagh appeared at Westminster Magistrates Court this morning, along with co-accused Shaun Kent and Daniel McLoughlin.

Dubliner Kavanagh faces five charges: conspiracy to possess firearms without a certificate, possessing ammunition without a certificate, possession of a ‘fire bull’ firearm – a weapon which can fire repeatedly without any pressure being added to the trigger – and possession of a ‘dumdum bullet’, which explodes prior to impact.

Kent and Kavanagh are also charged with conspiring to pervert the course of justice.

The court heard that the investigation centres on Encrochat ‘handles’ and information received about firearms, some of which were hidden in Ireland.

The court also heard that 11 firearms are involved in the related charges and that Kavanagh will remain in custody to appear at the Central Criminal Court in London.

Kavanagh remained solemn faced throughout the proceedings from a ‘lobby’ room and made no comments to the court.

The court heard that he had provided information in relation to the location of the weapons which were concealed in the Republic of Ireland.

He is already serving 21 years after he pleaded guilty to importing more than £30 million of cocaine and cannabis in a commercial-scale smuggling operation uncovered by the UK’s National Crime Agency (NCA).

Liam Byrne and Kavanagh’s son, Jack, are currently in custody in Spain fighting extradition to the UK, where it is alleged encrypted messages link the pair to a gang buying firearms for sale to other organised crime mobs.

Byrne was arrested as he holidayed on the island of Majorca – which is long associated with the Byrne Organised Crime Group and its leader, Thomas ‘Bomber’ Kavanagh, who owns a waterside villa in the posh Cala D’Or area.

Byrne’s brother, David, a brother-in-law of ‘Bomber’, died at the Regency Hotel in 2016 when an attempt to assassinate Daniel Kinahan went wrong.

He later moved to Birmingham, close to Kavanagh and his sister Joanne, after the Criminal Assets Bureau raided his Raleigh Square home in Crumlin in March 2016.

In January 2017, a raid on a premises at Greenogue industrial estate, Dublin, uncovered ‘Bomber’ Kavanagh’s weapons stash, which resulted in the fall of his once-powerful gang.

The mob had been using a network of money launderers, organisers without major criminal convictions and seemingly-ordinary companies. Amongst them was Declan Brady, aka Mr Nobody, a childhood friend of ‘Bomber’, now serving a lengthy sentence.

Documents discovered in the raid were sent back to the UK – where ‘Bomber’ was living in the posh Midlands suburb of Tamworth – and subsequently led to a major NCA investigation into an import-export firm.

Cops targeted his group in the UK and eventually a tracker device found with drugs in the port of Dover led officers to probe countless other drug shipments.

Thomas Kavanagh was jailed along with his co accused Gary Vickery and Daniel Canning, but a proceeds of crime case is still underway.

It focuses on Kavanagh’s assets, including a haul discovered at his home Tamworth, Birmingham, which uncovered one hundred pairs of designer heels, 120 handbags, 36 pairs of Armani jeans, lines of Hugo Boss suits, closets full of Canada Goose and Moncler jackets and drawers full of expensive watches and jewellery valued at almost £500,000.

Cash in the region of £40,000 was found discarded around the house, stuffed into the back of the sofa and in a variety of Moschino, Gucci and Chanel handbags.

Police in the UK are also sifting through receipted purchases believed to be worth hundreds of thousands and recorded on high-end designer store cards where points were saved for discounts and access to services like personal shoppers.

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