THREE suspected members of the Kinahan organised crime group have been charged in Britain with firearms offences.
It follows a major National Crime Agency (NCA) investigation into a plot to acquire firearms and ammunition.
The plot was uncovered following the takedown of the Encrochat encrypted messaging platform.
“These charges are a major milestone in what has been a long and complex international investigation,” said NCA Regional Head of Investigations Craig Turner.
One of those charged is Thomas Kavanagh, who is currently serving 21 years for drug trafficking.
The 55-year-old from Tamworth, Staffordshire, has now been charged with firearms offences and conspiring to pervert the course of justice.
Shaun Kent, 37, and Daniel McLoughlin, 36, both from Liverpool, have also been charged with the firearms offences.
Kent is further charged with conspiring to pervert the course of justice.
All three appeared at Westminster Magistrates’ Court on Tuesday, where they were formally charged.
They will next appear at the Old Bailey on Tuesday, September 5.
Reduced sentence plot
The investigation under Operation Venetic led to the earlier arrests in Spain of Jack Kavanagh, 23, from Tamworth, and Liam Byrne, 42, from Dublin, and extradition proceedings are underway.
NCA officers believe Byrne, Kent and Jack Kavanagh conspired to pervert the course of justice by planning to reveal the location of weapons in an attempt to get Thomas Kavanagh a reduced prison sentence.
“We will continue to work with our partners to target criminals who we suspect are operating at the highest levels of organised crime impacting on the UK,” added Mr Turner.