A Romanian man has been jailed for four years for attempting to smuggle three handguns into the UK.

National Crime Agency officers launched an investigation after Ionut Constantin Diaconu, 36, was stopped at Dover’s Eastern Docks on 12 July 2021.

He was a passenger in a lorry being driven by fellow Romanian Constantin Neascu, 39, which was searched by Border Force.

Three converted Ekol model Gediz self-loading gas pistols marked as Glock were found hidden in a wine box inside a rucksack on the drivers bunk.

Officers also found two Albanian men hiding in the trailer, who were attempting to enter the UK illegally, and 21,550 cigarettes in the cab.

Both men were arrested on suspicion of importing firearms, facilitating illegal entry to the UK, and importing cigarettes.

In an interview with NCA investigators, Diaconu said that he was asked to pick up the rucksack and take it to England, but claimed to have not looked inside or realised it contained anything illegal.

Diaconu pleaded guilty to the firearms offence at Maidstone Crown Court on 28 February, for which he was jailed for four years. He received an additional four month sentence for revenue evasion on the cigarettes. Neascu was also jailed for four months in relation to the cigarette seizure.

Mark Howes, Branch Commander at the NCA, said: “Diaconu was carrying a lethal cargo of weapons, which would have undoubtedly ended up in the hands of organised criminals.

“The supply of firearms is closely linked with the drugs trade, and weapons are used to instil fear, inflict violence and in some cases to kill.

“Thankfully, working with Border Force, we managed to stop these firearms reaching the streets and have protected the public.”

By Ed

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