International firearms and ammunition smugglers are put behind bars

Members of an international criminal gang responsible for smuggling dozens of firearms and more than 4,000 rounds of ammunition into the UK have been sentenced to a total of 85 years.

Ross Elliot, of Tweedy Road, Bromley, was convicted of conspiracy to sell or transfer firearms and ammunition and was sentenced to 18 years’ imprisonment at Kingston Crown Court.

Co-conspirator, Olatomiwa Sholanke of Castleton Close, Croydon, was also found guilty of conspiracy to sell or transfer firearms and ammunition and has been sentenced to 10 years in prison.

Both men, aged 31, alongside three other members of their gang, were sentenced on October 18 at Kingston Crown Court.

They denied the charges but were convicted on April 15.

The men were caught after a 15-month investigation.

Detective Chief Inspector Sam Cailes, from the Met’s Organised Crime Command Unit, said: “This was a protracted and complex operation which demonstrates how committed the Met is to reducing the number of firearms entering the UK and potentially ending up in the hands of violent criminals.

“The length of the sentences imposed by the judge shows just how seriously the courts consider these offences.”

South Yorkshire Police and Met detectives recovered a total of 25 firearms – including four submachine guns and 4,000 rounds of ammunition.

Officers discovered hidden weapons when the gang’s vehicle was stopped and searched in May 2016.

The search revealed six handguns, two submachine guns and 1,000 rounds of ammunition concealed in the car.

Detective Chief Inspector, Sam Cailes, said: “This operation was successful due to the dedication and commitment of the operational team and the seamless partnership working with our colleagues in the German Police, South Yorkshire Police, Eurojust, Europol, Border Force, the Crown Prosecution Service and the Met’s Firearms Forensic Unit.”

The other gang members involved in this operation were all convicted of conspiracy to sell or transfer firearms and ammunition but are serving different sentences.

Sharriff Dacres, 24, of Hemel Hemstead, has been sentenced to 14 years’ imprisonment after denying charges.

Co-conspirators Ljudmil Ognjanov, 45 and Evgeni Tanev, 65, both from Germany pleaded guilty and received a sentence of 21 years and seven months and 22 years and four months respectively.

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