UK news People smuggling investigation: Two arrested in Belfast as inspector hails ‘successful' operation last news
PremierLeague-News.Com - On a suburban street in south Belfast, lives a 40-year-old woman anti-trafficking officers believe is one of a network of ruthless criminals profiting from the movement of desperate people.
PremierLeague-News.Com - Breaking Sport Transfer News ! "On a suburban street in south Belfast, lives a 40-year-old woman anti-trafficking officers believe is one of a network of ruthless criminals profiting from the movement of desperate people. As the residents of Ravenhill Avenue are preparing to head off to work, the street is swarmed by Home Office officials, aided by the PSNI.At first there is no answer at the door while the upstairs blinds twitch, as an officer with a battering ram prepares to force entry, the woman opens the door and a search of the property begins before the woman is arrested.High on the list of items being sought are mobile phones that will give a fuller picture of the scale of the operation.This is an investigation that has been ongoing for 10 months and involves a close partnership with the Home Office and their counterpart in the south.The crackdown on immigration in the rest of the UK has seen traffickers diversify and change routes. Bringing desperate people mainly from the poorer African nations through ports in the south of Ireland before crossing the border, many seeking asylum in Northern Ireland.Across town and at an apartment complex in Annadale on the banks of the River Lagan, residents watch on with curiosity as a 26-year-old man is brought out in handcuffs, he is an associate of the woman arrested earlier in the day.Both, originally from Somalia, are naturalised British citizens, just two members of a much wider network making up to £15,000 per person they help traffic to the UK.Neighbours in the Annadale area gathered on corners to watch on as police sniffer dogs were brought into the property to search for evidence.The man had been living in the apartment block, mainly occupied by young families and young professionals, for some time and is thought to have been in Northern Ireland for several years.Around 50 officers from the Government’s Immigration Enforcement unit, supported by the PSNI were involved in the operation.Both suspects were arrested on suspicion of “conspiracy to assist unlawful immigration of non-UK nationals”. The woman was also arrested on suspicion of possession of criminal property.The pair who – thought to be part of a much wider network of smugglers – have been taken into custody in Musgrave Police Station for questioning.Anyone found guilty of assisting unlawful immigration can face up to life in prison.
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.Johnathan Evans, an inspector with CFI said that the operation was a “success” adding that they had helped disrupt a network operating both “here in Northern Ireland, nationally and internationally”.Two other members of the gang were arrested during a previous operation.“We have removed assets using proceeds of crime legislation and we have protected“Organised crime gangs diversify and use various means and sophisticated smuggling techniques to bring people into the United Kingdom.“It can range from anything from £2,500 to 15,000 and that goes to these networks who are exploiting these people for profit.“The taskforce was set up to disrupt organised crime groups, tackle organised immigration crime, modern slavery and human trafficking.“We work collaboratively with various different partners and we’ve seen multiple techniques being used”.Deputy Director, Immigration Enforcement Criminal & Financial Investigations, Ben Thomas, said the “operation is just one of the ways we are working with our policing partners to take action against those who are attempting to bring people illegally into the country hidden in vehicles”.“We are committed to dismantling people-smuggling networks and hope these arrests send a clear message to those involved in this type of criminality that we will stop at nothing to bring you to justice.”It was reported that 3,683 migrants made the crossing from France to the UK on 90 boats in July, the highest monthly total so far this year.In the South, since January just short of 8,000 people have applied for refugee status after entering Ireland via various routes.Home Secretary Priti Patel, who has been subject to controversy over her plans to send migrants deemed to have arrived illegally to Rwanda, said the operation showed "expertly trained officers working tirelessly to keep our country safe by disrupting suspected criminal activity".The next court case challenging the plans is due to be heard in September by which time the Home Secretary is likely to be replaced by whoever the next Prime Minister is.Ms Patel said: "By working hand-in-hand with our Irish partners, we will continue to stop those who seek to abuse the Common Travel Area to enter the UK.“People smugglers put lives in extreme danger and I hope these arrests act as a stark warning to criminal gangs that they will feel the full force of our tougher laws. Through our New Plan for Immigration, we can truly break their business model and suitably punish them for their callous crimes.”"
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