LONDON – An 18-year-old man who stored a machine gun, gun components, nun chucks, CS gas and a host of other weaponry at his family home was sentenced to six years in prison Friday.
Reza Khalilzada, a Dutch national residing in Pinner, Middlesex, England, ordered guns online from the United States. Khalilzada came to police attention Aug. 8, 2013, after U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) scanned a parcel destined for delivery to his address.
The package stated that it contained a ceramic dish and an ornament featuring three ceramic owls sitting on a log, but CBP x-rays revealed that in fact it held a lethal IWI .22 calibre UZI machine gun and 187 rounds of ammunition.
CBP contacted U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) special agents, who later notified the Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) in England. MPS Central Task Force officers executed a search warrant Aug. 14, 2013, at Khalilzada’s address, where he lived with his parents and three siblings.
"This case is an example of HSI’s commitment to investigate and help disrupt the flow of weapons and sensitive technologies illegally exported from the United States," said HSI Attaché London Matthew Etre. "HSI special agents will continue to work in collaboration with our law enforcement partners in the UK to keep the citizens of both our countries safe and secure."
"Khalilzada’s arsenal contained everything one person would need to potentially kill and seriously injure a lot of people, said MPS Central Task Force Detective Inspector Rob Murray. "It is great news that, with the assistance of our partners in the United States, we have taken these weapons off the streets and out of criminal hands. Our work has prevented these lethal weapons and ammunition being in criminal circulation on the streets of London and potentially resulting in very serious consequences. I hope this case and the sentence acts as a deterrent to anyone thinking of being involved in the illegal purchase or distribution of firearms and ammunition."
When MPS detectives questioned Khalilzada about the machine gun, he told police he had responded to a website advert offering money to provide a "drop-off address" for an unknown package, because he was not doing well at college and wanted a job.
When MPS found packaging for another heavy item from the Unite States in his garage, Khalilzada claimed it had been for a camping chair in his bedroom – but the weight detailed on the packaging did not correspond with the weight of the chair. Further searches uncovered the barrel of an AK-74 rifle under the mattress in his bedroom.
MPS also found a rucksack containing nunchucks, CS gas, a lock knife, lighter fluid, aerosol cans, a lighter, a catapault and ball bearings, a scarf and bandana, balaclavas, gloves, field dressing for wounds and bandage tape, amphetamines, ecstasy and four CDs containing images and videos of Khalilzada's family in his bedroom.
Detectives also seized ear defenders, three computers and a number of USB memory sticks, £600 in cash and several bank cards.
Khalilzada was charged with firearms offences Aug. 15, 2013. The next day, his parents reported that another package had been delivered to him from the United States containing various parts of an assault rifle which, when combined with the rifle barrel found under the mattress, created a fully functional, automatic assault rifle with the potential to kill. The ammunition stopped at the U.S. border would have fitted this assault rifle.
The investigation into who Khalilzada ordered the firearms and component parts from is ongoing.
On Dec. 3 2013, Khalilzada pleaded guilty to possession of a prohibited weapon (AK-74 barrel), possession of a prohibited weapon (CS gas), and two counts of possession of a controlled drug (MDMA and amphetamine).
He pleaded not guilty to attempting to possess a prohibited weapon (AK-74 component parts) and conspiracy to fraudulently evade a prohibition, for which he was later found guilty at Isleworth Crown Court Jan. 28.
HSI's Office of International Affairs (OIA) is responsible for enhancing national security by conducting and coordinating international investigations. With agents in 67 offices in 48 countries around the world, OIA represents ICE's broadest footprint beyond our borders. HSI attaché offices work with foreign counterparts to identify and combat transnational criminal organizations before they threaten the United States.