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Bromley man jailed for role in international gun smuggling gang

PUBLISHED: 07:00 19 October 2018 | UPDATED: 09:30 19 October 2018

Ross Elliot was jailed for 18 years. Photo: Met Police

Ross Elliot was jailed for 18 years. Photo: Met Police

Archant

A Bromley man is one of five members of an international criminal network responsible for smuggling dozens of firearms into the UK who have been jailed for a total of 85 years.

More than 4,000 rounds of ammunition were seized by officers. Photo: Met PoliceMore than 4,000 rounds of ammunition were seized by officers. Photo: Met Police

They were all sentenced on Thursday, October 18, at Kingston Crown Court.

Ross Elliot, of Tweedy Road, Bromley, and Sharriff Dacres, of Cotterells, Hemel Hempstead were convicted of conspiracy to sell or transfer firearms and ammunition. They denied the offences, but were found guilty following a nine-week trial.

Elliot, 31, was jailed for 18 years. Dacres, 23, was jailed for 14 years.

Co-conspirators Olatomiwa Sholanke, of Castleton Close, Croydon and Ljudmil Ognjanov and Evgeni Tanev, both of Hamburg, Germany were all charged with conspiracy to sell or transfer firearms and ammunition.

Police found guns hidden in the front axle of at Nissan Patrol. Photo: Met PolicePolice found guns hidden in the front axle of at Nissan Patrol. Photo: Met Police

Sholanke, 31, denied the offence but was convicted.

Ognjanov, 45, and Tanev, 65, pleaded guilty.

Sholanke was jailed for 10 years, Ognjanov for 21 years and seven months and Tanev for 22 years and four months.

All the offences took place between January 2016 and March 2017.

The group were caught following a 15-month investigation carried out by specialist detectives from the Met’s Organised Crime Command.

Officers uncovered an international gun smuggling ring involving the transportation of firearms between Germany and the UK.

Detectives believe the defendants played a key part in a wider organised criminal network responsible for smuggling guns into the UK.

Tanev and Ognjanov were identified as ringleaders of the gang. They oversaw the smuggling of the weapons, which were then passed on to Elliot, Dacres and Sholanke to be transported and distributed among criminal networks and London street gangs.

Officers from the Met worked with German Federal Police to track the transportation and supply of weapons.

With assistance from South Yorkshire Police, a number of seizures took place at addresses in Sheffield, while Met detectives also recovered firearms from properties in St Albans and Watford.

In total, officers seized 25 firearms including four sub-machine guns and more than 4,000 rounds of ammunition.

The gang used elaborate measures to hide the firearms and when their vehicle was stopped and searched entering the UK in May 2016, officers discovered a number of hidden weapons.

A specialist search of the vehicle revealed six handguns, two sub machine guns and 1,000 rounds of ammunition had been concealed inside.

Det Ch Insp Sam Cailes 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.

“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.

“These weapons were intended for criminal use in London and across the UK and the destruction such weapons could have caused can only be imagined. The length of the sentences imposed by the judge shows just how seriously the courts consider these offences.

“Our hope is that this case acts as a deterrent to other groups trying to bring highly dangerous weapons into our country. We will relentlessly pursue people who are involved in the supply and possession of firearms and bring them to justice.”

BKA (Federal Criminal Police Office of Germany) President Holger Münch, said: “These judgments round off a very successful trans-border co-operation of police authorities during which two European instruments, i.e. Joint Investigation Teams and the European Arrest Warrant, were consistently used. The case illustrates that, despite different legal systems, transnational efficient criminal prosecution of organized weapons trade is possible.”

Kiril Kirilov, 44, and Dimitar Tsekov, 37, both of Sofia, Bulgaria, were acquitted on Wednesday, April 4 of conspiracy to import firearms and ammunition.

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