Trio jailed after firearms supply chain smashed

01/12/2012

Three people have been jailed after officers from Greater Manchester and West Midlands Police smashed a firearms supply chain and recovered a military grade machine gun.

Sohail Aurengzeb (15.04.1984), of Wren Street, Oldham, admitted possession of a firearm and ammunition with intent to endanger life.

At Manchester Minshull Street Crown Court on Friday 30 November 2012, he was jailed for a total of 15 years in prison.

Biny Amin (15.02.1967), of no fixed address - who has a previous conviction for possessing a firearm - was convicted of possession of a firearm and ammunition with intent to endanger life and was jailed for 14 years.

Imran Rashid (02.06.1980), of Denbigh Street, Birmingham and Imran Khan (23.12.1987), of Charles Road, Birmingham, were convicted of possession of a firearm and ammunition with intent to endanger life and will be sentenced in February 2013.

Both men were also convicted of possessing a Baikal self loading pistol and ammunition. Khan was also convicted of possessing with intent to supply: heroin; cannabis and cannabis resin as part of a separate investigation by West Midlands Police.

Illyas Idrees (aged 27), Gordon Avenue, Wednesbury, West Midlands pleaded guilty to possessing a firearm and was jailed for five years. He was sentenced to a further six months to run consecutively for supplying cannabis to another defendant in a crown court dock during a previous hearing.

Ajaz Nazir (01.05.1979), of New Earth Street, was found guilty of possessing a firearm and ammunition. He has previously been jailed for seven years.

In the early hours of Sunday 7 August 2011, Amin and Aurangzeb travelled to a block of flats on Gordon Avenue, Wednesbury, West Midlands in a silver Subaru Legacy.

Nazir travelled to that location in a black VW Golf.

During the journey, Aurangzeb was in regular contact with Rashid.

The vehicles returned to Manchester and officers from GMP's Tactical Firearms Unit and the Xcalibre Organised Crime Unit stopped the Golf on Great Ancoats Street shortly after 3.30am.

Nazir was in the front passenger seat and was arrested. A bag containing a Skorpian sub-machine gun and a number of rounds of hollowpoint ammunition was recovered from the front passenger footwell.

The gun is capable of discharging 1,000 rounds of ammunition per minute and is believed to change hands for as much as £15,000 in the criminal underworld.

At about 4am the Subaru was stopped and Amin (driver) and Aurengzeb (front seat passenger) were arrested.

As part of the subsequent investigation involving both forces, Rashid, Khan and three others were arrested by specialist officers from West Midlands Police on 27 August 2011. Two further firearms were recovered.

An image of the Skorpion machine gun recovered from the VW Golf in Manchester was recovered on a phone belonging to Khan.

Khan's DNA was also found on the weapon.

Detective Chief Superintendent Darren Shenton, head of GMP's Serious Crime Division, said: "Together, GMP and West Midlands Police have taken out a firearms supply chain and recovered a number of deadly weapons in the process.

"This case proves that we will work with other police forces and will not hesitate to go beyond our geographical boundaries in order to bring serious organised criminals to justice.

"I must praise the many officers from both forces who have worked as one to secure these convictions.

"The sentences handed down today - in particular to Aurengzeb  and Amin - reflect the threat posed by the defendants and the deadly weapons they traded and the communities of Greater Manchester, West Midlands and beyond are safer with them behind bars."

Detective Inspector Chris Mossop, from the Xcalibre Organised Crime Unit, said: "Due to the convictions we secured I think it is fair to say that this operation has prevented someone being shot and probably killed.

"The Skorpion machine gun is not a weapon carried for 'protection' or to be regarded as a status symbol; plain and simple it is designed for and was bought with the intention of maiming and killing.

"This case is just one of a number of recent and ongoing investigations into the most dangerous and prolific offenders on our streets and once again proves we are the thorn in the side of organised crime gangs across Greater Manchester and beyond."

David Rouse from the West Midlands Crown Prosecution Service's Complex Casework Unit, said:

"This was an extremely complex case which involved the investigation of an organised criminal gang by two police forces into the trafficking of heroin and other controlled drugs as well as the trading of illegal firearms, which included a Skorpian machine pistol, which can fire a thousand rounds of ammunition a minute, a Smith and Wesson pistol and Baikal pistol.

"These individuals were merchants of death and they had little disregard into the pain and suffering that these weapons and drugs can cause to people, families and to the local communities.

"I would like to pay tribute to the great volume of work over a short period of time by both the investigating teams of two police forces and the extensive liaison between both of them which saw a great deal of high quality evidence obtained to prove the telephone and face-to-face links between the Birmingham and Manchester defendants and thus their involvement in serious offending which presented a considerable danger to their respective communities.

"I would also like to praise the prosecution team who worked very closely with the investigation teams at an early stage in order to guide the officers and build a strong case so that we could bring these individuals to justice.

"This has been an important case for the criminal justice system as we want to demonstrate to the public that we will robustly prosecute those who seek to trade illegally in gun and drugs.

"It is vital in the light of the harm caused by illegal firearms, and to ensure that our communities feel safe, that such prosecutions are undertaken and dangerous weapons are taken off the streets.

"This was a very high quality investigation throughout and that was the reason for the very worthwhile outcome of these proceedings. I am pleased that we have today removed a significant threat to law and order."