A MAN who helped bring an arsenal of guns into the UK and sold them to criminal gangs has been given an indeterminate jail sentence.
Steven Cardwell obtained scores of handguns from smuggler Steven Greenoe, who managed to hide the weapons in his luggage on flights from the United States.
Cardwell, 31, was sentenced at Liverpool Crown Court where he was told he would not be able to apply for parole for at least 11 years.
He was found guilty yesterday of conspiracy to import, sell and possess prohibited firearms with intent to endanger life following a four-week trial.
Cardwell, of Aintree, Liverpool, showed no emotion as Judge Elgan Edwards told him they were “extremely grave crimes”.
The weapons were smuggled into the UK by Greenoe, 37, who was arrested at Raleigh Durham International Airport in North Carolina in July last year when an arsenal of 16 guns was found in his suitcase.
The judge told Cardwell: “You co-operated with Greenoe and you were a vital part of the distribution network.
“You distributed handguns which could have had no lawful purpose.
You imported them into this country and distributed them to the criminal underworld.”
Prosecutors said that, between January and June last year, Greenoe purchased a total of 81 firearms in gun shops in the US and believe he smuggled at least 63 of them into the UK. Only 10 have been recovered so far.
Judge Edwards said: “It is evident, in real terms, the harm that some of these guns have been used for.
“And it is a very worrying feature that 53 of them remain in circulation in society.
“Without doubt, sadly, they will be used in criminal activity and other people will be hurt as a result.”