Identical triplets have been jailed in the UK after their DNA led detectives to identify that they had been in possession of a firearm, intending to pass it to a criminal.
The three were charged with conspiracy to possess a firearm within intent to endanger life in relation to an incident on 10 April 2017 and were sentenced at Blackfriars Crown Court on Friday, 6 September:
Reiss Gabriel, 28 (24.6.1991) of Church Street, N9 was jailed for 18 years.
Ralston Gabriel, 28 (24.6.1991) of Galahad Road, N9 was jailed for 14 years.
Ricky Gabriel, 28 (24.6.1991) of Church Street, N9 was jailed for 14 years.
The brothers are the final three of eight individuals charged in relation to this case. The other defendants previously charged and sentenced are:
Aron Thomas, 32 (12.12.1986) of Georges Road, N7 was charged with two counts of conspiracy to possess a firearm with intent to endanger life in relation to incidents on 10 April and 27 April 2017. He was sentenced to life imprisonment.
Elyace Hamchaoui, 23 (1.7.1996) of Bowes Road, N11 was charged with conspiracy to possess a firearm with intent to endanger life in relation to an incident on 10 April 2017. He was sentenced to 14 years’ imprisonment.
Hamza Ahmed, 21 (26.3.1998) of Ashbrook Road, N19 was charged with conspiracy to possess a firearm with intent to endanger life in relation to an incident on 10 April 2017. He was sentenced to 16 years’ imprisonment.
Joshua Miller, 27 (5.12.1991) of no fixed address was charged with conspiracy to possess a firearm with intent to endanger life in relation to an incident on 27 April 2017. He was sentenced to 17 years’ imprisonment, to run consecutively to a sentence of three years and six months for possession with intent so supply Class A drugs which he is currently serving.
The group were jailed following an intelligence-led investigation carried out by officers from the Met’s Trident and Area Crime Command.
On 10 April 2017 officers conducted surveillance in Durban Road, N17. They observed a mini cab attend the location and a male – later identified as Ahmed – exited and met with another unidentified male. A short time later he returned carrying a large holdall, which was placed in the rear of the taxi. He returned to the male and received another rucksack which he placed on his back before getting into the taxi.
The vehicle drove away but was stopped by armed police shortly after. Officers searched the bags and found two firearms and associated ammunition. Examination of the weapons identified one to be an Uzi sub-machine gun, with an accompanying silencer and ammunition, and the other to be a self-loading pistol with accompanying ammunition.
When interviewed Ahmed told police he believed he was involved in a drug deal, and denied any knowledge of the firearms, but based on the evidence and intelligence available to police he was charged.
Officers carried out further surveillance on 26 April 2017 in Stapleton Hall Road, N4. They witnessed Thomas enter an address and exit shortly after, leaving in a vehicle driven by Miller.
Armed officers intercepted the vehicle carrying Thomas. He was found to be in possession of a bag which contained a loaded revolver and multiple rounds of ammunition.
Thomas was on licence at the time of the offence having been jailed for 11 years in 2010 for his involvement in the discharge of a firearm into a crowd of people outside Wood Green tube station in which one man received gunshot wounds.
Analysis of the firearm seized from Thomas revealed it to be a revolver. Ammunition for the particular type of revolver is no longer available, however, the accompanying rounds had been modified to be compatible.
Following the arrest of Ahmed on 10 April 2017, officers carried out substantial inquiries which led them to identifying Hamchaoui who had been working as an intermediary between Ahmed and Thomas.
Consequently, officers arrested and charged both Thomas and Hamchaoui as part of the conspiracy.
Thomas, Miller, Ahmed and Hamchaoui stood trial for five weeks in May 2018. They were convicted of possession of firearms with intent to endanger life.
Following the conviction of Ahmed, Thomas, Hamchaoui, and Miller officers conducted further forensic examination of the pistol recovered from the incident on 10 April 2017. This revealed DNA which was linked to identical triplets – the Gabriel brothers. The DNA recovered was not attributable to just one of the triplets, so officers were required to carry out extensive inquiries to identify which of them was complicit.
Officers were able to evidence that all three Gabriel brothers were involved, leading them all to be convicted of the offences on Tuesday, 2 July 2019.
Temporary Detective Chief Inspector Driss Hayoukane from the Met’s Specialist Crime Command said:
“Aron Thomas is a dangerous individual who made a concerted effort to acquire firearms, intending to cause harm to others. At the time of committing this offence, Thomas was on licence having been released from an 11 year sentence for recklessly firing a weapon into a crowd of innocent people.
“He clearly has no regard for the safety of any member of the public, and no respect for the criminal justice system. I am pleased the sentence he received in this case demonstrates the seriousness of his offending.
“This lengthy investigation which has spanned many years showcases the police’s commitment to bringing those who involved in offending to justice. The success of this case would also not have been possible without the hard work of the Crown Prosecution Service’s prosecution team, led by Kerry Broome.
“I am proud of the dedication my officers, notably DS Nick Harvey and DC Irfan Khalifa, showed in tracking down and linking the Gabriel triplets to this case. The trio tried to exploit their identical DNA and appearance to try and evade the consequences of their actions, but the hard work of the investigation team prevented their attempts. Through their actions in this case, these men have thrown away promising careers and futures.
“As the judge stated at sentencing, these weapons were destined to be used by dangerous criminals. This case should send a clear message to anyone considering possessing or attempting to obtain a firearm that we will identify you and bring you before the courts. I would urge anyone who has any information about someone involved with gun crime to contact Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111, they do not ask your name and cannot trace your call. Alternatively in an emergency, call 999.”
Reiss Gabriel was also sentenced for a separate charge of possession of a firearm with intent to endanger life in relation to an incident on 26 July 2018 and two counts of possession with intent to supply Class A drugs. He admitted the offences and was jailed for six years, four years and three years and six months respectively to run concurrently to the sentence for the main conspiracy.