‘Foolish’ British holidaymakers are jailed for five years after posting a AR15 ‘school shootings’ assault rifle disguised as fishing gear home from Florida
- Carlos Sen, 26, and Stephen Gibson, 46, tried to smuggle the gun into Retford
- Their partners, Rebekah Simons, 25, and Louise Caswell, 39, also conspired
- The AR15 is the model that was used to kill 17 pupils in Parkland, Florida
- Each of four defendants guilty of conspiring to import and possess a firearm
Sen, 26, (pictured) tried to smuggle in an AR15 to Nottinghamshire and has been jailed for three years
Two ‘foolish’ British holidaymakers men who posted an AR15 assault rifle home from Florida have been jailed.
The crime was described by police as ‘a foolish and blatant attempt to import a potentially lethal weapon into the country’.
Carlos Sen, 26, and half-brother, Stephen Gibson, 46, were convicted along with their partners, Rebekah Simons, 25, and Louise Caswell, 39, of conspiring to import and possess a firearm at Nottingham Crown Court.
Sen was yesterday jailed for three years and Gibson for two years. Simons and Caswell were handed suspended sentences of 21 months and 15 months respectively.
The National Crime Agency began investigating in June 2017 after Homeland Security agents in the US intercepted a package about to be shipped to Caswell to an address in Retford, Nottinghamshire.
It contained the lower receiver, barrel shroud, magazines and stock of the AR15, the model used in every one of America’s mass shootings from the 2012 attack on a cinema in Aurora, Colorado, to the killings of pupils in Parkland, Florida last year.
Gibson (left) was jailed for two years and Caswell (right) received a suspended sentence for her role
The group tried to smuggle in this AR15, the model is heavily associated with mass shootings in the States
Pictured: The AR15 disassembled in order to be disguised in a bid to move it through customs and into Nottinghamshire
NCA officers, working with Border Force, also intercepted a second package in the UK which contained the barrel of the rifle and was also addressed to Caswell.
The group had attempted to disguise the packages as personal fishing equipment, and included a fishing rod reel along with the barrel.
Investigators discovered that while in Florida, Sen and Simons, both of Retford, Notts, recruited a US resident to purchase the weapon on their behalf from a legitimate firearms collector. They then worked with Caswell and Gibson to send it back to the UK in parts.
Days after the importation, Caswell and Gibson were arrested by NCA officers at their home in West Drayton, London. Investigators established they were able to go on the trip, despite being unemployed, as it had been paid for by Sen.
Simons (pictured) conspired with three others to try and smuggle the gun into the country
Sen, who also had no legitimate source of income but claimed to be a professional gambler, subsequently fled to Italy. He was arrested, along with Simons, a nursery nurse, after returning to the UK.
Prior to his arrest, Sen destroyed his sim card and deleted the contents of his phone. During the trial, he claimed he did so to remove evidence of a one night stand he had in Italy.
In a bid to defend their actions, the group told the jury they had wanted to go shooting on their trip but heard it was expensive. Sen therefore arranged to purchase the firearm, with a US citizen, for around $450 to save them money.
However, enquiries made as part of the investigation showed it costs around $20 to hire a rifle at a shooting range in Florida.
Adam Warnock, NCA Branch Commander, said: ‘This group made a foolish and blatant attempt to import a potentially lethal weapon into the country.
‘Although gun crime in the UK remains relatively low compared to the US or mainland Europe, we know illegal firearms are used in acts of serious violence and by crime groups to coerce and intimidate.
The group arranged for the gun to be taken to pieces (pictured) and tried to disguise it as fishing gear to get it into Nottinghamshire
‘Working with international partners in countries where these weapons are legal and supressing their availability in the UK is a priority for the NCA.
‘Post and fast parcels remain one of the most popular methods of illegally importing firearms into the UK, and this is also something we, along with Border Force, are actively targeting.’
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