Man jailed for 14 years after guns found hidden in music speaker in van headed for Cambridgeshire town
Guns were found hidden in a speaker inside a van headed for a Wisbech home.
A Mercedes Sprinter van was stopped by French border officials on June 20 2014. Items from the vehicle were x-rayed and ammunition was found hidden in a TV.
The van driver told border officials the TV was due to be delivered to the home of Marius Supelis, of Ollard Avenue, Wisbech.
UK border force officers were then made aware of the vehicle stop and the seized ammunition and the van was stopped just hours later at the Channel Tunnel terminal.
The contents of the van were x-rayed and a red checked laundry bag was discovered. It was inspected and found to have guns inside.
The three handguns were discovered hidden on a makeshift shelf in the top of a boom box music speaker, held in place by three screws. The shelf was further concealed by a white blanket.
Cambridgeshire police were made aware and carried out a warrant at the home of Supelis, (35), at just after 7.30pm the same evening.
Supelis had driven away from the house in a blue Ford Galaxy a short while before but the car was stopped in Colville Road and he was arrested on suspicion of possessing a prohibited weapon.
Officers executing the warrant found more than 100 bags of class B drugs with a street value of £1070 hidden in cigarette packets. The cigarette packets were hidden behind canvas pictures hung on a wall.
A total of £600 in cash was also seized together with a gas canister, two stun guns, pepper spray, six brass bullets, a cannabis grinder and a laptop.
Forensic examination revealed Supelis’s fingerprints on the cigarette packets and a piece of plastic attached to the boom box speaker.
The guns had been adapted to fire live ammunition and the bullets found in his bedroom were identical to those seized from the delivery van.
Phone evidence showed Supelis had been in direct contact with the delivery drivers and had arranged for the speaker and TV to be picked up from his mother’s address in Lithuania.
The phones used to make contact were seized from Supelis on his arrest and the laptop seized from his front room was also used to send a link to pictures of similar guns via Skype.
In police interview, Supelis denied any involvement in importing firearms from Lithuania.
He claimed he met a man four weeks beforehand in a park who asked if he could send a parcel to his address as he didn’t have a permanent one. He told officers he agreed to help the man and had no knowledge of the parcel’s contents.
As well as this, he said he was ‘looking after’ all the cash and drugs found at his home for the same friend.
He denied being a drug dealer and said he worked for an agency working with apples and potatoes.
However, he admitted the stun guns and pepper spray were his and claimed he needed these for protection because Wisbech was a ‘dangerous place’.
He claimed the laptop found at his home was bought from a car boot sale two weeks before officers executed the warrant.
Supelis was bailed to attend court in May 2015 but fled the UK on a ferry with his partner and young daughter two days before his court hearing.
A European arrest warrant was issued in February 2016. Supelis was arrested more than two years later, on 9 April 2018, in Valencia, Spain, by officers from the National Crime Agency (NCA).
He was flown back to the UK 11 days later and remanded in custody.
When interviewed about fleeing the UK, Supelis claimed he left the country because his mother was ill. He told officers he was ‘going through hell’ and asked the Royal Family to forgive him. He also claimed he knew he would have to ‘face the music sometime’.
Supelis stood trial at Peterborough Crown Court from 5 August charged with fraudulent evasion of a prohibition and was found guilty of the offence four days later.
He had previously pleaded guilty to failing to surrender, possessing a disguised firearm, two counts of possessing a prohibited weapon, possessing ammunition without a firearm certificate, and four counts of possessing a class B drug with intent.
He was sentenced at the same court yesterday (9 October) where he was handed a total of 14 years and four months in prison.
DC Jolly Herod, from the force’s Serious and Organised Crime Department, said: “This has been a complex and lengthy investigation spanning five years which involved a European arrest warrant, Supelis’s extradition from Spain and assistance from various partner organisations, including Border Force and the National Crime Agency (NCA), in the UK and France.
“I am pleased justice has finally been done. Guns and drugs have devastating effects on people’s lives and we will continue the fight to prevent their use and keep our streets free from the serious threat they pose.”