Guilty: Men convicted over supply of handguns and ammunition
- Credit: NCA
Three members of an organised crime gang have been convicted of possessing and supplying handguns and ammunition.
Artem Kuts of Claire Place, Isle of Dogs and Oliver Mark of Romford Road, Stratford were among four people arrested in an investigation into firearms supply.
Kuts and Mark were found guilty on Friday, May 28 following a seven-day trial at Southwark Crown Court.
Jacque Beer, the National Crime Agency's 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."
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Surveillance squads from the NCA and Met watched Kuts leave his home carrying a brown paper bag on October 12.
The 39-year-old got into a black BMW 5 Series registered to Mark.
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A third man, Alexander Georgiev - also known as Ernis Piranej - pleaded guilty at an earlier hearing.
The 26-year-old of no fixed address was seen getting in and out of the same car several times with the paper bag. He later got into a blue BMW empty handed.
Armed officers swooped in on the black car and found the bag in a rear passenger footwell.
It contained a Russian brand Baikal self-loading pistol and eight rounds of Makarov ammunition.
Mark, 40, and Kuts were arrested for possession of a firearm. Georgiev was arrested for conspiring to supply a firearm.
A fourth person was arrested for the same offence but later released with no further action.
A police search of Kuts’ home uncovered two more guns and 14 rounds of ammunition hidden in the garden.
Jacque said: "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 on June 17 at Southwark Crown Court.
Kuts was found guilty of one count of possession of a firearm with ammunition; two counts of possession of firearms; one count of possession of ammunition; and one count of attempted sale or transfer of a firearm.
Mark was found guilty of attempting to sell or transfer a firearm.
Georgiev pleaded guilty on November 25, 2020, to possession of a firearm, possession of ammunition and attempted sale or transfer of a firearm.