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SHEFFIELD GANGS: Lethal weapons brought into Britain

Post by Aftab on Tue 11 Aug 2009 - 11:27

SHEFFIELD GANGS: Lethal weapons brought into Britain by 'merchants of death'



Shot: Jonathan Matondo

Published Date: 10 August 2009
TEENAGE gun crime victim Tarek Chaiboub was carrying a Baikal pistol - the weapon of choice amongst gangsters - when he was shot dead.
The weapon is one of hundreds to have flooded Britain's streets after being smuggled into the country from Russia, where they are illegally converted into guns from gas-firing pistols.

The same type of firearm was used to kill 16-year-old Jonathan Matondo on the Nottingham Cliff recreation ground in Burngreave in October 2007. He was shot at with two Baikals.

Tests on ammunition at the scene of an earlier incident where Jonathan was shot at revealed a third Baikal had been fired at the youngster on the day he was gunned down.

The Baikal used to kill Jonathan had previously been used in another attack on an S3 member's home, and one of the other guns had been used in an attack on S3 gang members the year before.

Taxi driver Younis Khan was also murdered with a Baikal that same year, when his cab was shot at six times as he drove along Scott Road, Pitsmoor, in a revenge attack as a result of a dispute his son was involved with.

The guns, which fire 9mm bullets, change hands for between 1,500 and 2,500 in the criminal underworld.

Baikals begin their life in one of Russia's largest arms factories in Izhevsky produced to fire gas canisters for the self-defence market.

But they are converted into lethal bullet-firing weapons in illegal warehouses in Lithuania.

More than 300 have been seized by police across Britain in recent years.

The solid steel guns are not chosen for their bling factor - they are small and can fit easily into the palm - but because they are easily available, deadly, and can be used time and time again without deteriorating.

In January 2007, a gun-running gang who smuggled pistols, silencers and ammunition into Britain were jailed for a total of 32 years. The three Lithuanian men - one based in Sheffield - supplied the weapons to gangs ranging from Eastern European syndicates to Yardie-style drug dealers.

Darius Stankunas, aged 34, of Moreland Road, Gleadless Valley, Andrius Gurskas, 26, and Orestas Bubliauskas, 34, bought guns for 40 in Lithuania and sold them on for up to 2,000 in the UK.

The illegal immigrants were caught with a shipment of 12 Baikal handguns, complete with hundreds of bullets which had been hidden in the modified fuel tank of a car.

Stankunas had six guns in his rucksack and was on his way to sell them in Sheffield. He was jailed for 10 years.

Sentencing the men, Judge Stephen Robbins described them as "merchants of death".
http://www.thestar.co.uk/news/SHEFFIELD-GANGS-Lethal-weapons-brought.5538075.jp
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