Former bodyguard for Madonna is jailed for 10 years for gun smuggling

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The Independent Online

A former US marine who once worked as a bodyguard for Madonna was given a jail sentence of 10 years yesterday for smuggling guns into the UK on commercial flights.

Steven Greenoe, 37, of Raleigh, North Carolina, bought weapons from American gun shops, broke them down to their component parts and then smuggled them into the UK in his luggage.

He was arrested at Raleigh Durham International Airport on 25 July 2010 when an arsenal of 16 lethal firearms was found in his suitcase.

The trial in Liverpool heard that weapons linked to the conspiracy were used in at least one fatal shooting in the UK. Undercover police officers in Liverpool also bought three Glock handguns for £3,600 apiece. Greenoe paid just £300 for each of those weapons in America. In October last year a 24-year-old man suffered a bullet wound to the leg during a drive-by shooting in Wythenshawe, Manchester.

The gun used in the shooting was never found, but cartridges at the scene match guns bought by Greenoe in America, the trial heard. Another weapon, a "composite firearm" used in the attempted robbery of a Liverpool taxi driver last March, was forensically matched to two guns purchased by Greenoe in America. Detectives fear those incidents could be just the tip of the iceberg. The court in America was told that Greenoe smuggled 63 pistols on nine trips to the UK between February and July, 2010. It is understood he was stopped by airport security staff in North Carolina on at least one occasion when screening detected items in his suitcase. But he managed to convince workers he was an arms salesman and the weapons parts were dummies. Greenoe will serve 10 years at a federal court in Greenville, North Carolina, followed by three years supervision on his release.

In November, Steven Cardwell, 31, from Liverpool, was given an indeterminate jail sentence following a trial at Liverpool Crown Court after he obtained scores of smuggled guns from Greenoe and then sold them on to criminals in the UK.