GUN CITY: Organised crime gang who supplied firearms face jail as seizures continue across capital
MEMBERS of a London-based organised crime group involved in firearms are facing jail after being convicted of possessing and supplying handguns and ammunition.
Artem Kuts, 39, (above) of the Isle of Dogs, and Oliver Mark, 40, of Stratford, were among four people arrested as part of a National Crime Agency (NCA) investigation into the supply of firearms.
They were found guilty on Friday, May 28 following a seven-day trial at Southwark Crown Court.
NCA and Metropolitan Police surveillance teams watched as Kuts left his home carrying a brown paper bag on 12 October last year and got into a black BMW 5 Series registered to Mark (pictured below).
A third man, Alexander Georgiev, (above) also known as Ernis Piranej, 26, of no fixed abode, who pleaded guilty at an earlier hearing, was seen getting in and out of the same car several times carrying the brown paper bag.
He later got into a blue BMW empty handed.
Following this, armed officers descended on the black car and found the bag in the rear passenger footwell.
It contained a Russian brand Baikal self-loading pistol and eight rounds of Makarov ammunition (both pictured below).
Mark, who was in the driver’s seat, and Kuts, who was in the rear passenger seat, were both arrested for possession of a firearm.
Georgiev was arrested for conspiring to supply a firearm minutes later, as he attempted to flee in the blue car.
A fourth person in that car was initially arrested for the same offence but later released.
No further action was taken against him.
Police then searched Kuts’ home on Claire Place and found two more guns and 14 rounds of ammunition of the same type, which had been hidden in the garden.
They had been packaged heavily and wedged in the corner between the wall and a garden storage unit.
Jacque Beer, NCA Regional Head of Investigations, said: “The seriousness of gun crime cannot be underestimated.
"Had we not intercepted these weapons they would have been used to kill, threaten and intimidate others.
“Organised criminals like Kuts, Mark and Georgiev perpetuate violent crime and are only motivated by financial gain.
“The NCA works tirelessly to stop criminals getting their hands on firearms, and to pursue those who use them to unleash violence and fear in our communities.”
All three are due to be sentenced at Southwark Crown Court.
Essex News and Investigations has been reporting on the high number of firearms seizures taking place in the capital.
The Met’s Specialist Crime Command, based in east London, recovered a loaded Glock handgun (below) with the help of armed officers.
The officers made a stop on two vehicles travelling in convoy along Victoria Park Road, Hackney, north-east London, on Tuesday, May 25.
The occupants, three men and one woman, were detained while a search was carried out.
Officers searching the cars quickly seized a loaded Glock handgun from the one vehicle.
The firearm is now in the possession of specialist officers for examination.
Detective Inspector Glenn Butler from the Specialist Crime North Command said: “I’d like to reassure the local residents and everyone in London that Glock handguns like the one we have recovered are extremely rare in London, and specialist Met officers and my team work obstinately to locate and seize weapons such as this.
"The Met’s Specialist Crime Command remain on standby to recover illegally held firearms to protect London’s community and prevent the use of firearms in the capital.”
Four people appeared at Thames Magistrates' Court on Wednesday, May 26 charged with firearms offences in connection with the seizure.
Mazlum Sigirtmac, 30, of Norris House, Coleville Estate, Hackney was charged with conspiracy to possess a firearm with intent to endanger life and conspiracy to possess ammunition.
Tia O'Garro, 23, of Swift House, Sandbrook Road, Hackney, was charged with conspiracy to possess a firearm with intent to endanger life and conspiracy to possess ammunition.
Bailey McKenzie, 24, of no fixed address, was charged with conspiracy to possess a firearm with intent to endanger life and conspiracy to possess ammunition.
Abu Faye, 21, of 15 St Johns Court, Queens Drive, Hackney, was charged with conspiracy to possess a firearm with intent to endanger life and conspiracy to possess ammunition.
The three male suspects were remanded in custody to appear at Snaresbrook later this month.
The female suspect was bailed to return to the same court on the same date.