A man has been jailed after specialist officers discovered a cache of automatic firearms and ammunition hidden in his home, as well as a large quantity of Class A drugs and more than £140,000 in cash.
Terence O’Connor, 25 (03.12.95), of Webb Street, Bolton, was sentenced to 16 years, three months at Harrow Crown Court on Monday, 10 May following an intelligence led investigation conducted by the Met’s Proactive Money Laundering Team.
At Harrow Crown Court on 21 August 2020, O’Connor pleaded guilty to:
Two counts of possession of a Class A drug (cocaine);
Being concerned in the supply of a Class A drug (cocaine);
Possession of criminal property;
Two counts of possession of a prohibited automatic weapon;
Possession of ammunition.
He pleaded guilty to possession of a silencer and two counts of possession of a firearm with intent to endanger life at the same court on Thursday, 11 February.
The court heard that on 21 April 2020 specialist officers saw O’Connor hand what they believed to be a bag of cash to a suspect they were monitoring in relation to a money laundering investigation.
On 30 April 2020 he was observed in a parked car in Silverston Way, Edgware. He was seen to exit and walk around to the boot of the car where he starting moving items. Concerned about what he might be moving, detectives approached in unmarked vehicles and safely detained O’Connor at the back of the car.
Detectives searched a black rucksack at O’Connor’s feet and they found a large quantity of cocaine hidden inside it. O’Connor stated to the officers without warning, ‘I’ve never seen that before.’
O’Connor was also found in possession of an encrypted ‘EncroChat’ mobile phone.
He was arrested on suspicion of possession of a Class A drug with intent to supply and he was taken to a north London police station.
A thorough examination of the car revealed that there was a concealed hide within a passenger side interior panel. Although it was empty, apart from two separate coloured latex gloves, it was assessed that it could conceal a significant amount of illicit items.
During a search of an address linked to O’Connor on Amais Drive, Edgware, detectives discovered £143,080 in cash, a money counting machine and additional quantities of cocaine.
In total officers seized about 1kilo of cocaine, with a wholesale value of about £32,000 to £36,000 – although its value was likely to be more at that time because the UK was in lockdown
Empty drugs packaging recovered from inside the address indicated that upwards of 100kilos of cocaine had been processed at the location.
However, cash and drugs were not the only things detectives found during their search of the address.
Within the flat, police discovered a false wall panel concealing a void behind it. Inside the void was a holdall containing cache of automatic weapons and ammunition. Officers also discovered a compatible silencer.
The firearms were made safe and were sent off for testing. Forensic analysis confirmed the weapons seized were a fully functioning 9mm Uzi sub machine gun and a .32 auto Skorpion sub-machine gun.
Both were accompanied by compatible magazines and were compatible with the silencer. In addition, 332 rounds of compatible ammunition were recovered, which included additional rounds of .38 calibre ammunition.
O’Connor answered no comment to all the questions he was asked during his police interview.
He was charged on 1 May 2020 with two counts of possession of a Class A drug (cocaine) with intent to supply, being concerned in the supply of a Class A drug (cocaine), two counts of possession of a firearm, possession of ammunition, possession of a component part (silencer) and possession of criminal property.
Following the forensic analysis of the firearms, he was later additionally charged with two counts of possessing firearms with intent to endanger life
Detective Constable Kevin Davies, the investigating officer from the Met’s Proactive Money Laundering Team, said: “This sentence reflects the seriousness of the matters under investigation and will serve as a deterrent to those involved in serious and organised crime.
“O’Connor was involved in large scale drug trafficking and was also instrumental in the laundering of the proceeds of this crime. He had possession of dangerous automatic weapons, ammunition and a silencer, which would have been capable of causing death and serious injury on the streets of London.
“This investigation shows the close link between money laundering and those committing the most harm within London’s communities. It is also another example of the inextricable link between money, drugs and violence. We remain committed to putting people like O’Connor behind bars to ensure London is a safer place for everyone.”