By David Amoruso for Gangsters Inc.
The walls are closing in on members of the Irish Kinahan crime group. After the U.S. Department of State offered a $5 million dollar reward for information leading to the capture of its key bosses, authorities around the world are hunting them down. Last week, two members were arrested in Spain.
The Kinahans were founded in Dublin, Ireland, by Christopher “Christy” Kinahan and are currently led by his son Daniel. The group fought a violent war against the rival Hutch gang that saw scores of men dead.
Come at the King…
Both groups were splattered across the primetime news in February of 2016. Hutch hitmen decided to take a shot at Daniel Kinahan, the king, who was at the weigh-in for the WBO boxing match for the European Lightweight title between Jamie Kavanagh and Antonio João Bento at the Regency Hotel in Whitehall, Dublin.
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Despite having the element of surprise, the hitman were unable to locate Kinahan. Still, they killed an associate of the Kinahans; David Byrne.
Arrested in Spain
David’s older brother Liam (right) was one of the two Kinahan members arrested last week. 42-year-old Byrne is believed to be one of the most trusted figures within the Kinahan organization. He had flown into Palma Airport in Mallorca, Spain, from Dubai, United Arab Emirates, on May 26. He was arrested on Sunday evening in the Alcudia area of Mallorca while eating in a restaurant with family members.
Another suspected member of the crime group, 22-year-old Jack Kavanagh, was arrested by officers from the Spanish National Police on May 30 at Malaga Airport while transiting from Dubai to Turkey.
Both men were wanted by Britain’s National Crime Agency on suspicion of firearms offences. Decrypted text messages showed they were believed to be involved in the supply and acquisition of guns.
European Super Cartel, sportswashing with MTK Global
As the two men flew into Spain from Dubai it is clear they were part of an international criminal organization. With roots in Dublin, Ireland, the Kinahans grew into a European powerhouse. They went into business with the Italian Mafia, the Moroccans in the Netherlands, and crime bosses in Bosnia. Some authorities called the partnership the formation of a European super cartel. The DEA listed them among the 50 most powerful cartels in the world.
Daniel Kinahan moved his headquarters around from Dublin to Spain on to Dubai all the while trying to put up a legitimate front. He got involved in the world of boxing and founded what became known as MTK Global, a boxing and mixed martial arts management and event promotions company.
Despite accusations of sportswashing – using sports to freshen up his dirty image – Kinahan had a lot of success. He signed fighters such as champion Tyson Fury and UFC fighter Darren Till. After the Regency shooting he took a step back and later claimed to have cut ties with the company, though investigators frequently showed this was not as true as he claimed.
Kinahan’s charade held up, though. Until April 2022, when the U.S. Department of State announced the offering of rewards of up to $5 million for information leading to the arrest and/or conviction of the Kinahan crime group’s leading figures, including Daniel and Christy.
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This placed a big bull’s eye on the group with law enforcement agencies throughout the world keen to take them down. But after decades of trafficking tons of drugs into Europe, the Kinahans had become exceptionally wealthy and influential. They had made a lot of friends in high places as well.
So, they remain at large. Despite the $5 million reward and the immense heat from investigators. From an unknown location, they continue running their business. Cocaine flows one way, money the other. Until the money runs dry, the Kinahans will find a place to stay. For how long remains the question. You never know when you’ve outstayed your welcome.
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