Elliot Hopewell: Jail for Sheffield man who supplied gun and drugs to "underworld dealer"
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A Sheffield man who provided a gun and drugs to an "underworld dealer" is now behind bars.
Elliot Hopewell was an associate of "an underworld dealer with an unprecedented involvement in the UK’s illegal firearms trade."
He was jailed alongside Chris Dixon after their offending came to light following the country’s biggest crime crackdown, according to Northumbria Police.
The pair were identified during a specialist operation in 2020 which saw encrypted devices accessed as part of a push to tackle serious and organised crime.
Officers uncovered around 6,000 messages from Dixon’s phone which boasted sales of Spice, amphetamine and a range of weapons, including a hand-grenade and an Uzi submachine gun.
Messages also documented how Hopewell assisted Dixon with the sale of a Colt special revolver for £7,500 to a third party, who openly disclosed needing the item for criminal acts.
Further messages highlighted how Hopewell sold Dixon 20kg of Spice with the aim of it being distributed in prisons for maximum profit.
Dixon, aged 44, of Gardiner Square, Kibblesworth, Gateshead, was also found to be running an amphetamine factory from a flat.
Officers from Northumbria Police’s crime department began carefully compiling a case as part of Operation Sentinel, the force’s response to tackling serious and organised crime.
Detectives monitored Dixon’s movements as he travelled across Newcastle, and further afield to Wetherby and Merseyside for clandestine meetings.
When officers executed a warrant at his home on June 15, he knew the game was up, telling them: "I’ve been waiting for you," before he was arrested and taken into custody.
Almost £20,000 in cash was seized that day along with 770g of amphetamine, a range of drugs paraphernalia and anti-surveillance equipment including a scanning device found in Dixon’s car.
Then on July 23, officers from Northumbria Police and South Yorkshire Police attended 40-year-old Hopewell’s home in Greenwood Avenue, Darnall, Sheffield, where he was also arrested.
The pair were both charged and later appeared at Newcastle Crown Court.
In the months that followed, Dixon pleaded guilty to conspiracy to supply prohibited weapons, selling or transferring a prohibited weapon, conspiracy to supply Spice and conspiracy to supply amphetamine.
Hopewell later admitted conspiracy to supply prohibited weapons, conspiracy to supply heroin, conspiracy to supply cocaine, conspiracy to supply spice and conspiracy to supply Ketamine.
On Thursday, November 23, Dixon, was sentenced to 22 years in prison and Hopewell was sentenced to 15 years and five months in prison.
Speaking after the sentencing, Detective Chief Inspector Marc Michael, from Northumbria Police, said: "Our investigation into Dixon and Hopewell uncovered an unprecedented involvement in the sale of illegal firearms and illicit drugs. It is only right that they are now commencing a significant term of imprisonment.
"Dixon was a prolific purveyor of guns and drugs. We uncovered evidence he had access to lethal weapons such as a hand grenade, an AK 47, and even an Uzi submachine gun. Both him and Hopewell knew they were selling weapons to dangerous, violent offenders who sought illegal firearms for the sole purpose of furthering their own interests within the serious and organised crime world, and this type of activity cannot go unpunished.
"Not only this, but they conspired to sell highly addictive drugs and planned to sell Spice, an incredibly harmful substance, to prison inmates for high prices.
"Thanks to a complex investigation which began with Operation Venetic, the international infiltration of encrypted devices, we were able to build a solid case documenting not just the criminal exploits of Dixon and Hopewell, but also their brazen and arrogant attitudes.
"Following years of criminal proceedings, our involvement is now over and I would like to take this opportunity to thank all of the officers and staff, and partners, whose work has helped achieve more than 37 years of jail time combined as a result."