"You acted as the fulcrum in the supply of prohibited weapons and ammunition to criminal gangs."
A British Asian physiotherapist has received a jail sentence of 14 years for working as a weapons supplier to a criminal network.
The sentencing took place at Birmingham Crown Court on 31st January 2018.
The 58-year-old, named Mohinder Surdhar, acted as a middleman and supplied co-conspirators with guns and ammunition. He used a legitimate firearms certificate to obtain these weapons.
They would then be sold to a gang’s chief armourer, priced from up to £3,000. Surdhar was part of a complex network, which is linked to two murders in Birmingham.
These are a Hockley shooting in 2015 and the 2016 death of an 18-year-old in Ladywood.
In addition, the network is connected to a fatal London shooting, which took place on Boxing Day in 2013.
Regarding Surdhar, police revealed that 11 non-fatal incidents, as well as 28 shootings, were linked to him. During his trial, the 58-year-old admitted one count of conspiracy to transfer prohibited weapons and ammunition.
As he received the sentence, Judge Bond told Mohinder: “You were a physiotherapist with a PhD, well-educated and well-respected in your field.
“In short, over a period of several years you acted as the fulcrum in the supply of prohibited weapons and ammunition to criminal gangs.”
Police have also conducted trials of other defendants involved with the criminal network. As a result, judges have convicted over a dozen men, which includes another weapons supplier called Paul Edmunds.
In 2015, police arrested the supplier at his home, which contained three armouries. They also found 100,000 rounds of ammunition. In addition, police discovered bullets belonging to him at 100 crime scenes across the UK.
He received a jail sentence of 30 years in December 2017.
Phil Rodgers, Detective Constables of West Midlands Police, compared Surdhar and Edmunds to characters from Breaking Bad, saying:
“Breaking Bad of the gun world – on the face of it both decent men but using their skills and expertise to provide deadly firearms.”
During the sentencing, Judge Bond added: “It is impossible to say how many weapons you supplied over the years but it would now appear that you supplied hundreds of guns to the gang.
“Even to this day, weapons sold by you are still being seized from crime scenes. Edmunds was at the top of the chain of supply and he was illegally importing many handguns both current and antique into the United Kingdom.
“He has the highest culpability in this conspiracy. But yours is not much less than his.”
Police began their investigations on Surdhar and Edmunds when the National Ballistics Intelligence Service (Nabis) highlighted an increase of police recovering antique handguns and specially created ammunition in 2009.
They reported that this increase was particularly prevalent in the area of West Midlands. During investigations, Nabis discovered similar equipment had created the ammunition, leaving industrial markings.
This meant that police could connect them with gang members from the network. Soon, this led to officers learning of Surdhar and Edmunds’ names and connections with the gangs.
Now, after Surdhar’s trial, he will now begin his 14-year jail sentence.