Gun found in taxi was headed to London covered in dealer’s DNA

A semi-automatic gun seized when armed police swooped on a taxi was previously handled by a Liverpool drug dealer.

Ibrahim Mohammed travelled up from London to collect a black pistol from an address in Toxteth.

But he didn’t realise he’d been under surveillance from the moment he left his home and headed north.

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Merseyside and Metropolitan officers intercepted him in a private hire car at the Shell garage on Edge Lane.

Police then discovered the DNA of Daniel Weaver – linked to the the property in Toxteth – on the lethal weapon.

Weaver, 26, today appeared at Liverpool Crown Court for sentencing for possessing a prohibited firearm.

Alaric Walmsley, prosecuting, said officers found Mohammed sitting in the blue Toyota Avensis, with a leather satchel on his lap containing the black gun, at around 9pm on Saturday, March 6 this year.

The 23-year-old, of Brook Drive, Lambeth, has admitted possessing a prohibited firearm and is awaiting sentence.

The taxi driver said he had collected Mohammed from Alt Street in Toxteth and was taking him to London.

The gun was examined and identified as a Sig Sauer P290 – an American made, self-loading pistol.

Police surrounded the petrol station on Edge Lane

However, experts later said it was “unlikely to be a genuine P290” and probably a pistol designed to fire blanks or gas power cartridges, which had then been converted, when its barrel was modified.

The gun was in a “poor” condition, rusting inside and didn’t have a magazine, but bullets could be manually loaded and it was successfully test fired.

Mr Walmsley said: “The firearm had the potential to cause lethal injury.”

Weaver’s DNA was found on the grip and handle of the weapon, before detectives discovered he had connections to the house in Alt Street.

Mr Walmsley said police had watched Mohammed meeting “an individual” there earlier that evening.

On September 20, officers arrested Weaver at his home in Gilbert Street, Liverpool city centre, then searched the property in Alt Street.

Mr Walmsley said they found “shooting targets bearing the name Weaver and the words Glock and Shadow”.

When interviewed by police, Weaver said he had never seen or touched the gun, and never met Mohammed.

He denied possessing a prohibited firearm and was set to stand trial in February, but later changed his plea.

The court heard he has 22 previous convictions for 42 offences, mostly for “low level” public disorder matters.

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However, he was locked up in June 2017 for conspiracy to supply Class B drugs.

He was part of a gang who trafficked drugs from Liverpool to Cumbria.

Weaver was jailed for two years after he admitted conspiring to supply cannabis and two counts of offering to supply amphetamines.

In March 2018 he was spared jail for possessing a bladed article.

David Birrell, defending, said Weaver knew he would receive at least the mandatory minimum five-year sentence for the gun offence.

Mr Birrell said it was a modified weapon and in “poor” condition, adding: “It seems it was faulty.”

The black semi-automatic pistol handled by Daniel Weaver

The black semi-automatic pistol handled by Daniel Weaver

He said: “There is no evidence he used the firearm for any criminal purpose or that he intended it to be used for that purpose, whatever Mr Mohammed’s intentions may have been.”

The lawyer said Weaver’s past convictions were mainly for “petty” offences, except for trafficking cannabis, meaning “this kind of offending is out of character for him”.

Mr Birrell said: “He’s a father, he has two children, aged three and five, he’s actively involved in their lives, they will feel his loss keenly.

“He has recently suffered with ill health, quite serious ill health. Last year in 2020 he was hospitalised for four weeks, when doctors found holes in his oesophagus and his heart, very serious conditions. He instructs that he almost died.”

He said Weaver’s treatment was ongoing, he was vulnerable to Coronavirus, and he wanted the court to know that while on remand in custody he had suffered the loss of a close family member and missed their funeral.

Mr Birrell said Weaver intended to take advantage of courses in prison, adding: “He hopes to turn his life around in the future.”

Judge Louise Brandon said the gun had been modified and “turned into a weapon designed for a criminal purpose”.

The judge said Weaver’s previous convictions didn’t aggravate his case, but demonstrated “a connection to the criminal underworld”.

She said he had been at least “reckless” whether the gun would be used for a criminal purpose and there was an “obvious” risk of harm.

Jailing him for five years and two months, Judge Brandon said: “No doubt your children will bear the burden of your incarceration.”

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