Three identical triplets have been jailed after being convicted of the same crime in London, despite using their similar DNA to throw detectives off the scent.
In a case that would have puzzled Sherlock Holmes himself, brothers Reiss, Ralston and Ricky Gabriel, all 28, were jailed for handling illegal guns at Blackfriars Crown Court, Friday, and are now starting 14-year sentences for the crime. Reiss was sentenced to an additional four years for a separate gun conviction, plus two convictions for possession of narcotics with intent to supply.
“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,” said Temporary Detective Chief Inspector Driss Hayoukane from the Metropolitan Police’s Specialist Crime Command.
The Gabriel brothers jail time follows an investigation that began in 2017 and resulted in the arrest of three men for possession of firearms including an Uzi sub-machine gun. Under Britain’s strict gun laws, it is serious offense to be in possession of any firearms and in May 2018 all three men — Aron Thomas, 32, Elyace Hamchaoui, 23, and Hamza Ahmed, 21 — were sent to jail for between 14 years and life.
More importantly for the Gabriel triplets, however, their trial also encouraged the Metropolitan Police to carry out further forensic tests on the guns. These tests showed DNA traces linked to the brothers.
Yet the police didn’t swoop on the Gabriels immediately. Unlike other siblings, the DNA of triplets is very closely matched, so the detectives couldn’t tell precisely which one of the brothers was involved in handling the guns.
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To find out, they turned to old-fashioned detective work, carrying out extensive inquiries across London to try to pinpoint the triplet responsible. Ultimately, police made a startling discovery: All three of the Gabriels were involved, and had intentionally collaborated knowing their DNA would make it difficult for police to pin the crime on any one of them.
“I am proud of the dedication my officer showed in tracking down and linking the Gabriel triplets to this case,” said Detective Chief Inspector Hayoukane on Friday after the court proceedings.
“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.”