Five Luton men have been sentenced to a combined total of more than 83 years behind bars for plotting to bring guns into the UK.
The gang, headed by Muzaffer Ali, 39, of Maidenhall Road, were convicted following a 12-week trial in July.
At St Albans Crown Court today (Thursday) they were sentenced to the following:
- Muzaffer Ali, 39, of Maidenhall Road – found guilty of conspiracy to import guns and ammunition and of the transfer of guns and ammunition, sentenced to life imprisonment (22 years) - Haroon Khatab, 41, of Jasmine Road – found guilty of conspiracy to import guns and ammunition, sentenced to a total of 19 years imprisonment - Sajid Khan, 25, of 7 Manx Close – found guilty of conspiracy to import guns and ammunition and of the transfer of guns and ammunition, sentenced to a total of 18 years imprisonment - Khalid Hussain, 39, of Maidenhall Road – found guilty of conspiracy to import guns and ammunition, sentenced to a total of 17 years - Faisal Mahmood, 20, of Maidenhall Road – pleaded guilty during the trial of the transfer of firearms and ammunition, sentenced to a total of seven years and 10 months
In March 2016 a number of guns and ammunition were recovered by police after they were supplied to a criminal group based in Leicester.
A joint surveillance operation between the Special Operations Units in East Midlands and the Eastern Region (EMSOU and ERSOU) revealed the supply of three Hungarian FEG semi-automatic handguns and 21 rounds of ammunition by the Luton gang to the Leicester group.
ERSOU officers discovered that Ali, as head of the group, had been sourced the weapons in the Netherlands before using other members of the group to provide security, package and store firearms, collect money, and deliver the weapons to other criminal groups.
Dutch Police and the National Crime Agency helped stop two of the group at the French border, and guns were found hidden in a hired Ford Mondeo.
During the trial, evidence was heard that the group had used more than 60 mobile phone numbers in a four month period, 18 of which were attributed to Muzaffer Ali.
Detective Sergeant James Panter from ERSOU, said he was pleased about the long sentences handed out.
Three other defendants were found not guilty of all charges during the trial.