UK & World News
Ex-British Soldiers Jailed Over Gun Smuggling
Four former soldiers and a fifth man have been jailed for a total of 50 years for smuggling guns, ammunition and drugs into the country.
The servicemen, who were based in Germany, conspired with civilian contact Ramone Marshalleck, 25, in London to import the goods in January last year.
Lance Laurent, 26, who was a trooper with the Queen's Royal Hussars, Duran Wright, 28, a Lance Corporal with the Royal Logistic Corps, Trave Dyce, 22, a former trooper in the Queen's Royal Hussars and Lemar Loveless, 26, who was arrested six days after he quit the Queen's Royal Hussars, were all sentenced today along with Marshalleck at Woolwich Crown Court.
Prosecutor Alison Saunders said: "This was a carefully planned conspiracy to bring weapons, ammunition and drugs into the UK organised by four soldiers based in Germany and their civilian contact in London.
"These deadly weapons could have gone on to be used in violent crimes. The 74 live bullets brought in as part of the importation were very difficult to obtain in the UK and were likely to have been sold to the criminal underworld.
"The high-purity cocaine that was imported had a street value of over £70,000 and would almost certainly have made big profits for criminal gangs while damaging lives."
Loveless and Dyce were stopped after they got off a Eurotunnel train from Calais on January 25 last year.
Five handguns were found in their vehicle, which was driven by Dyce, while under the driver's seat were three boxed BBM self- loading pistols, each with a silencer, and 20 rounds of ammunition, and under the front passenger seat were two Walther PPK 9mm self-loading pistols, one with 20 rounds of ammunition, police said.
Officers also found 1.1lb (500g) of cocaine in the boot.
The BMW car, bearing British Forces Germany-issued numberplates, was registered with the Army to Wright.
Marshalleck was arrested and charged the following month after he was identified as the individual who was due to receive the firearms from Loveless on arrival in the UK, and was then expected to be responsible for the onward supply of the weapons to criminal networks in the capital.
Laurent and Wright were both charged in June after returning to the UK. The court heard that while Wright had provided the vehicle used by Dyce, Laurent was instrumental in planning the movement of firearms and drugs to the UK.
The five men were found guilty on Monday following a six-week trial at Woolwich Crown Court.
Shortly before it started, Dyce had pleaded guilty to conspiracy to import cocaine while Loveless and Laurent pleaded guilty at the beginning of the trial to the firearm offences.
Loveless, of Brydon Walk, Islington, north London, was sentenced to 14 years while Dyce, of Sydney Road, Smethwick, West Midlands, was sentenced to seven and a half.
Laurent, of Gloucester Street, Pimlico, central London, was sentenced to 12 years in prison and Wright, of Jerningham Road, New Cross, south east London, was sentenced to 10 years.
Marshalleck, of Huron Road, Tooting Bec, south London, was jailed for six and a half years.