Trio jailed after being caught with Baikal guns and ammunition

Artem Kuts of Isle of Dogs and Oliver Mark of Stratford were jailed.

Artem Kuts, 39, of Claire Place, Isle of Dogs, and Oliver Mark, 40, of Romford Road, Stratford. - Credit: National Crime Agency

Members of an organised crime group have been jailed for possessing and supplying handguns and ammunition.

Artem Kuts, 39, of Claire Place, Isle of Dogs, and Oliver Mark, 40, of Romford Road, Stratford, were arrested as part of a National Crime Agency (NCA) investigation into the supply of firearms.

On October 12 last year, NCA officers watched Kuts leave his home carrying a brown paper bag and get into a black BMW 5 Series registered to Mark.

Gun and ammunition seized by police

A gun and ammunition found in the BMW. - Credit: National Crime Agency

A third man, Alexander Georgiev - also known as Ernis Piranej - was seen getting in and out of the same car several times carrying the brown paper bag.

Officers descended on the 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.

Mark and Kuts were both arrested for possession of a firearm.

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Georgiev was arrested for conspiring to supply a firearm minutes later as he attempted to flee.

Officers then searched Kuts’ home and found two more Baikals and 14 rounds of ammunition, 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.

Gun seized by police

A gun found at Artem Kuts' home on Isle of Dogs. - Credit: National Crime Agency

Kuts and Mark were found guilty on May 28 following a seven-day trial at Southwark Crown Court.

They were today (October 1) sentenced to 15 years and eight years in jail, respectively. 

Kuts was found guilty of one count of attempted sale or transfer of a firearm prohibited weapon; three counts of possession of firearms; and one count of possession of ammunition, with the sentences for each offence to be served at the same time. 

Mark was jailed for attempting to sell or transfer a firearm. 

Georgiev, 26, of no fixed abode, pleaded guilty at an earlier hearing and was jailed for six years. 

NCA regional head of investigations Jacque Beer said: “Illegal firearms drive serious violence, intimidation and coercion in our communities.

“Seizing handguns like the ones found in the Isle of Dogs, with the help of our partners at the Metropolitan Police Service, protects the public from this grave threat.

“The NCA works tirelessly to stop criminals like Kuts, Mark and Georgiev obtaining firearms and it is only right they should serve long jail sentences for their crimes.”