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Ex-Marine admits gun smuggling

A former Marine accused of smuggling handguns into the UK in his luggage has pleaded guilty to two of the 50 charges put against him.

Steven Greenoe was alleged to have imported at least 66 weapons into the country from his home in North Carolina before selling them on.

The 37-year-old faces being jailed for up to 30 years when he is sentenced this summer. He admitted exporting firearms from the United States without a licence and travelling in foreign commerce to deal in firearms without a licence when he appeared in court in Greenville, North Carolina.

Police fear many of the guns, which included Glock and Ruger 9mm pistols, were sold on to criminal gangs in north-west England.

One drive-by shooting in Wythenshawe, Manchester, last October, in which a man was hit in the leg, has allegedly been linked to a gun bought by Greenoe.

Documents posted in US courts reveal the suspected gun runner was stopped by security staff but talked his way on to a flight. He claimed to be an arms salesman returning from a gun show and the broken-down weapons parts were harmless dummy samples.

News of his alleged activities has sent alarm bells ringing on both sides of the Atlantic about the effectiveness of flight security checks.

Attorney Mark Edwards, representing Greenoe, said prosecutors had dismissed 48 charges against his client, who joined the Marines at the age of 17 before receiving an honourable discharge two years later because of his health.

Greenoe, who lived with his British wife Elizabeth in Shrewsbury, described himself online as a "security and investigations" specialist. He claimed to be the head of Jolie Rouge Group, a firm specialising in protecting shipping off eastern Africa from pirates.

He will be sentenced in June.

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