A machine gun was found in a minicab after police observed a shadowy handover on a residential street.
Police officers found the 9mm automatic, plus 22 rounds in a magazine plus 34 bullets and a silencer in a bag after pulling over the minicab, Mohammed Ali was travelling in at Great Cheetham Street East, Salford.
Both Ali (31) and the man who supplied him with the weapon, Beren Marshall (32), have been jailed at Manchester Crown Court after admitting firearms offences.
It’s understood the pair were couriers working for gangsters moving the deadly weapon on.
But police acting on intelligence, had them under surveillance and observed their clandestine meeting at Shakespeare Road, Swinton, Salford, at 5.15pm on November 27.
Shortly after Marshall drove away from the scene in a Mercedes, Ali’s minicab was stopped by police.
Asked if there was anything in the car, he replied: “Yes, there’s a gun on the passenger seat.”
Marshall later handed himself in to police and both men went on to admit conspiracy to possessing a prohibited weapon, part of a prohibited weapon and ammunition.
Marshall, of Shirley Avenue Salford, has now been jailed for six years, while Ali of Holst Avenue, Cheetham Hill, who was already subject to a suspended sentence at the time, has been jailed for six years, ten months and two weeks.
The court heard that Ali has previous convictions for firearms after being caught with a sawn-off shotgun and stungun in a police stop in Rusholme.
Convicted drug dealer Marshall has a previous conviction for possessing a sawn-off shotgun along with 50 cartridges.
Michael Johnson, defending Ali, described him as:
"A man of limited intellect, a man of use to those more sophisticated, a man prepared to run errands and take risks with items that they would not".
Ian Metcalfe, defending Marshall, said he was also being used by others higher up the chain and had been pulled back into crime just as he had begun to find stability with the mother of his two children.
Sending the pair down, Judge Patrick Field QC said: “It’s without doubt that this is a deadly weapon and was intended for use in serious and violent crime, where there would be the risk of death, or at the very least serious personal injury. The danger to society of such weapons is manifest. You both acted knowing that the weapon was to be conveyed to serious and dangerous men.”
Chief Superintendent Mary Doyle said:
“The arrests were all part of Project Gulf, a multi-agency operation set up to tackle serious organised crime. Our message to those persons involved in criminality is that we will continue to work together in partnership with our local communities to identify those involved in any crime and bring them to Justice.”
“Organised criminality causes misery for ordinary people going about their lawful business. It causes fear, intimidation and we are determined to work together to target those who indulge in such criminality.
“I would urge anyone who believes they have information about those involved in organised crime to contact police. As always, the information you supply will be dealt with privately and confidentially.”
It's unbelievable, in this day and age, that a man with convictions for firearms, who was also on a suspended sentence for being in possession of a sawn off a shotgun and a stungun, could be driving a minicab.
How many more drivers like Mohamid Ali are out there, driving minicabs?