Leytonstone News

Suspected ‘key member’ of ‘people smuggling crime group’ arrested

The 42-year-old from Leytonstone is suspected of helping to smuggle people in lorries
By Waltham Forest Echo

Officers beating down a suspect's door in a raid yesterday (credit: NCA)
Officers beating down a suspect’s door in a raid yesterday (credit: NCA)

A suspected “key member” of a “people smuggling crime group” was arrested in Leytonstone yesterday.

The 42-year-old man was one of four people arrested by the National Crime Agency (NCA) yesterday on suspicion of facilitating “prolific smuggling” of people into the UK by lorry.

The four are believed to have taken part in an unsuccessful attempt to smuggle 32 people in two lorries, discovered in the Netherlands and France in 2019. 

Investigators believe members of the crime group were involved in arranging for lorries to be broken into and people loaded onto them, without the knowledge of drivers.

A raid by the NCA yesterday (credit: NCA)

NCA branch commander Andy Noyes said: “Smugglers pay no regard to the lives of the people they attempt to transport, whether that be by boat or in vehicles.

“While putting people in lorries might make the issue less visible to the public, it is no less dangerous to those being smuggled and unfortunately we have seen the tragic consequences this can have.

“Working with partners in the UK and overseas we are determined to do all we can to disrupt and dismantle the organised crime groups involved and break down their business model.”

The three other men arrested were a 39-year-old from Dagenham – alleged to be a “senior member” of the group – a 37-year-old in Ilford and a 36-year-old in Streatham. 

They are all suspected of conspiring to facilitate illegal immigration and are due to be questioned by NCA officers.