Three men who conspired to transport firearms and drugs into the UK via Eurotunnel have been sentenced to a total of 40 years.
On Friday 17 May at Woolwich Crown Court, Kennedy Udo, 28 of Avery Hill Road, Eltham, SE9 was sentenced to eight years and six months, having been found guilty of conspiracy to supply drugs and being knowingly concerned in the fraudulent evasion of a prohibition on the importation of goods.
Michael Mgbedike, 22 of Spur Road, Orpington, BR6 was sentenced to eight years, having been found guilty of conspiracy to supply class A drugs.
Previously, on 7 September 2018, Emmanuel Okubote, 27 of Evan Cook Close, Peckham, SE15 was found guilty of conspiracy to supply firearms with intent to endanger life, conspiracy to possess ammunition with intent to endanger life, conspiracy to supply class A drugs and possessing ammunition with intent to endanger life. He was sentenced to 23.5 years’ imprisonment on 9 November 2018.
The sentences follow a proactive operation by the Trident and Area Crime Command, working with Border Force. On 12 August 2017, two loaded firearms, ammunition and a sound moderator were recovered in Coquelles in France, in a car destined for Folkestone. The car was seized and subsequently 990 grams of high purity cocaine were recovered from inside the car’s roof cavity.
Udo and Mgbedike were arrested at the scene and subsequently charged. An investigation was launched by the Trident and Area Crime Command and Okubote and a woman were arrested in the early hours of 13 August. They were charged with firearms offences in January 2018 when a loaded firearm was recovered from an address in Torcross Drive, Forest Hill.
Okubote’s fingerprints were recovered from a carrier bag in which the firearm was held in and his DNA was recovered from two parts of the firearm. In addition, a firearm was recovered from a vehicle in North London where Okubote’s fingerprint was also found on the bag that contained the firearm.
Detectives established that the men had made several trips to Amsterdam, via Eurotunnel, during the months of July and August 2017. It is believed that at least three importations of prohibited firearms and drugs had taken place. Okubote was established to be the main orchestrator in the conspiracy, using others with little or no previous criminal history to work for him.
DC Sarah Smart of Trident, said: “This conviction demonstrates the close working partnership between Trident, Border Force and the Crown Prosecution Service in pursuit of the country’s most dangerous criminals.
“Emmanuel Okubote, along with Michael Mgbedike and Kennedy Udo were intent on importing loaded firearms and drugs through the UK’s borders, bringing misery to the communities that we serve. The collaborative work between agencies, as well as between different departments and experts within the Met, has undoubtedly saved lives. This demonstrates that law enforcement agencies will relentlessly pursue those who carry, and those who facilitate the movement of firearms and drugs into and within the UK.
“The Metropolitan Police Service, as well as other law enforcement agencies, are committed to making the UK a hostile environment for these criminals to operate.”