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Six-and-a-half year prison sentence for Collier Row man conspiring to smuggle guns and ammo

PUBLISHED: 08:20 09 February 2018 | UPDATED: 16:13 09 February 2018

33-year-old Aymon Popo has been sentenced to more than six years for conspiracy to possess a firearm and ammunition with intent to endanger life. Photo: Met Police

33-year-old Aymon Popo has been sentenced to more than six years for conspiracy to possess a firearm and ammunition with intent to endanger life. Photo: Met Police

Archant

A Collier Row man has been jailed for six and a half years for conspiring to smuggle a handgun and ammunition from Kent to London.

Image of recovered firearm. Photo: Met Police Image of recovered firearm. Photo: Met Police

Thirty-three-year-old Aymon Popo, of Highfield Road, plead guilty to conspiracy to possess a firearm and ammunition with intent to endanger life on January 29.

He joins two other men and a woman who have been jailed for more than 29 years in total for linked firearms incidents.

On February 19 last year, officers found a handgun and 42 rounds of live ammunition in the boot of 28-year-old Mahesh Chaitoo’s car.

He had travelled to Ramsgate with Dagenham resident Spencer Tapper, 27, to collect the handgun.

They returned in separate cars to try and avoid being caught but were stopped by police on the M2.

Following police enquiries, Popo was linked to the investigation.

He was charged as the conduit who arranged for Chaitoo to transport the firearm on Tapper’s behalf and for conspiracy to possess a firearm and ammunition with intent to endanger life on August 18.

In a separate incident police discovered a handgun and 35 rounds of ammunition were found in the bedroom of Sandy Hunter, 33, who lives in Goresbrook Road, Dagenham, on November 16.

Police later identified from Whatsapp messages that she was holding the weapon on behalf of Tapper.

Tappper, of School Road, was sentenced to 15 years imprisonment for two counts of possession of a firearm and two counts of possession of ammunition.

Hunter handed a two-and-a-half year prison sentence for assisting an offender.

Chaitoo, of Beresford Road, Southend-on-Sea was sentenced to five and a half years in prison for possession of a firearm.

All three plead guilty.

Detective Inspector Tim Grinsted, who led the investigation, said: “This was a very complex investigation, with the defendants carrying and exchanging firearms across London and Kent.

Their sentences reflect just how serious the courts take this type of offending.

“Gun crime of any kind will not be tolerated and the Trident and Area Crime Command is committed to reducing offending linked to firearms and removing them from criminal circulation.”

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