Breaking Cranleigh Surrey

A man, who thought operating out of the ‘leafy idyll’ of Cranleigh would mean his criminal activity went undetected, has been jailed for a total of nine years and six months after appearing at Guildford Crown Court


James Ottomar Mosbacher (a duel German / US national), 54, of no fixed address, was found guilty of a number of offences including money laundering, possession of a genuine fully working ‘Smith and Wesson’ revolver handgun, possessing military ammunition and possessing forged identity documents.

Mosbacher was arrested in May 2016 after officers executed a warrant at an address in Guildford Road, Cranleigh. It was revealed that Mosbacher, who was in the premises at the time of the warrant was currently wanted by the German authorities for drug importation offences. He was detained on a German issued European Arrest Warrant. When officers proceeded to search the property, they found almost a quarter of a million euros, over £11,000 in cash, a luxury Range Rover, as well as fake documents including a forged Lithuanian passport and forged UK driving licence. Ancillary items such as body armour, money counting machines and tracking devices were also recovered.

Whilst Mosbacher was undergoing proceedings for the offences in Germany, lengthy enquiries continued for Surrey Police. This lead to further search warrants taking place at a storage unit in Leatherhead, where officers found further evidence of criminal activity including the hand gun and ammunition. Enquiries with German authorities revealed Mosbacher had an extensive criminal past with connections all over Europe.

Mosbacher was found guilty of the drug importation offences following a trial in Germany and was sentenced to two years and four months.

After serving that time he evaded extradition to the UK due to German legal and constitutional issues around the UK’s withdrawl from the European Union. However a UK issued European Arrest Warrant (EAW) remained active during the ‘Brexit’ transitional period. Mosbacher then flew to Lithuania in August 2020 whereupon he was apprehended by authorities there.

Handgun found in warrant 


The Crown Prosecution Service then, working closely with Surrey police and the National Crime Agency, began lengthy extradition proceedings which fortunately eventually resulted in Mosbacher being returned to the UK in December 2020, only a month from the expiry date of the EAW. 


He pleaded guilty to three counts of possession of forged identity documents with intent.

Following a two week trial at Guildford Crown Court, Mosbacher was found guilty of the following:

  • Money laundering
  • Possession of prohibited firearm (handgun)
  • Possessing expanding (military) ammunition
  • Possessing ammunition without firearms certificate

Detective Constable Gordon Krebel, from Surrey Police’s Economic Crime Unit, who was in charge of the investigation for almost 5 years, said: “Mosbacher can be genuinely described as an ‘International Criminal’ who believed he was untouchable.

“His money laundering offences were on a large scale and he thought that by setting himself up in the Surrey countryside, he would slip under the radar.

“This lengthy and complex investigation required working in conjunction with the Crown Prosecution and German authorities to ensure he was brought to justice for the crimes he had committed both in Germany and the UK.”