Two men have been jailed after specialist officers seized three firearms, £14,000 in cash and a large quantity of class A drugs in south London as part of a proactive operation.
Jody Hall, 46 (01.02.74), of Carters Hill Close, Bromley, and Harry El Araby, 33 (09.05.87), of Palmers Road, Bethnal Green, were sentenced at Woolwich Crown Court on Thursday, 23 July.
Hall was sentenced to 12 years’ imprisonment and El Araby was sentenced to six years’ imprisonment.
They both pleaded guilty at the same court on Tuesday, 30 June.
Hall pleaded guilty to one count of supplying a firearm, two counts of possession of a firearm and one count of possession of a class A drug (cocaine) with intent to supply.
El Araby pleaded guilty to possession of a firearm, ammunition and a silencer.
On Monday, 4 May at about 09:30hrs officers from the Met’s Specialist Crime Command were deployed in the vicinity of Carters Hill Close, Mottingham, as part of an intelligence led investigation. The officers witnessed Hall leave his address and walk to his car, which was parked nearby.
Hall leaned into the car and placed a single plastic glove on his right hand – there were further plastic gloves on the dashboard.
Hall then walked to some garages in the road and he opened a garage door with a key, entering empty handed.
A minute or so later he left the garage carrying a bulky item wrapped in a white carrier bag, which also had yellow and green on it. He carried the item in his right gloved hand to his car where he placed it inside the driving seat area. He then closed the car door and walked away towards his home address empty handed.
A short while later, Hall walked back to the car where he briefly parked in front of his garage and made a phone call before driving to the exit of the close.
Once there he parked and was met by El Araby who arrived on a bicycle with a rucksack on his back.
An exchange took place and El Araby cycled off while Hall returned to his car.
Armed officers intercepted El Araby in nearby Mottingham Lane. He was searched and officers found a Glock handgun with a silencer and 50 rounds of ammunition – it was found inside a white carrier bag with yellow and green on it. Officers also found £10,000 in cash and an encrypted Encrochat phone.
Armed officers also intercepted Hall, who was also found in possession of an encrypted Encrochat phone.
Officers searched his home address and recovered approximately £4,000 in cash along with 11kgs of cocaine. While the search was ongoing, Hall admitted to knowing the drugs were there, adding they were nothing to do with his partner, who was present at the address.
A search was also conducted at the lock-up garage and officers found a revolver concealed in an old washing machine. A specialist search team then conducted a more thorough search of the garage and they found a Berreta handgun with six rounds of ammunition in the clip.
Both males were taken to a south London police station. El Araby answered no comment to all the questions put to him. Hall answered no comment to the majority of questions put to him, mainly around the firearms and the handover, but he did admit to the drugs knowingly being in his address, stating he was holding them for someone to earn some cash on the side as he did not have a job.
They were both charged on Tuesday, 5 May and were convicted as above.
The investigation falls under Operation Eternal, which is the most significant operation the Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) has ever launched against serious and organised crime.
Over the last few months, European partners and the National Crime Agency (NCA) have shared data with the MPS relating to messages sent via an encrypted communication system called Encrochat. They obtained this information through an international operation named Venetic.
Specialist detectives across the Met have worked relentlessly to form investigations around those utilising these Encrochat handsets to commit some of the most serious crimes across the capital. They have monitored hundreds of handsets and analysed thousands of encrypted messages to build more than 100 cases – including this one.
Detective Constable Gio Antoniazzi, the investigating officer, said: “These guns, and every individual bullet, represent a life that could have been lost or changed forever and so I am delighted that we were able to remove them from streets of London.
“This was a fantastic team effort and the evidence gathered resulted in Hall and El Araby having no option but to plead guilty. I hope this makes people think twice about procuring dangerous weapons.
“We will be relentless in our endeavour to remove lethal weapons and illegal drugs from the streets of London as well as cash gained through such activity.”