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Eight arrested in people smuggling investigation
27 November 2012
Our officers have arrested 8 people as part of a major international investigation into a suspected organised crime gang involved in people smuggling.
The operation, led by our criminal and financial investigation team, saw early morning raids on a number of addresses in London on Monday 26 November and this morning (27 November) at an address in Hull.
The arrests were the culmination of a joint investigation with the Spanish Guardia Civil into an alleged criminal network suspected of assisting Iranian migrants to reach the UK from mainland Europe.
The investigation also involved our network of officers stationed abroad and the assistance of the airlines involved.
The network are alleged to have organised travel and provided false documents to their clients to facilitate their arrival at UK airports.
Those arrested are all aged between 23 and 56. In addition computers, documents and mobile phones were seized from a number of addresses and will now be examined.
Co-ordinated action by the Guardia Civil saw 11 people arrested during raids in Madrid and Alicante in Spain.
Chris Foster, criminal and financial investigation team, UK Border Agency said:
'This investigation is targeting an organised network suspected of being involved in a systematic attempt to evade the UK's immigration controls.
'People smuggling is an international crime which requires international co-operation, so we have been working very closely with our Spanish law-enforcement colleagues from the outset.
'Our investigation will continue with the evidence we have seized today.'
Those arrested in the UK were:
56-year-old male at an address in Engel Park, Mill Hill, London;
29-year-old male at a second address in Engel Park, Mill Hill, London;
23-year-old female at the second address in Engel Park, Mill Hill, London;
23-year-old male at the second address in Engel Park, Mill Hill, London;
46-year-old male at an address in Kensington, London;
38-year-old male at an address in Peacock Close, Mill Hill, London;
44-year-old-male at an address in Edgware, London.
46-year-old male at an address in Spring Bank, Hull.
All were arrested on suspicion of conspiring to facilitate an asylum seeker for gain and are now being questioned at police stations in London.
The UK Border Agency's criminal and financial investigation team is a specialist unit of seconded police officers working alongside warranted UK Border Agency officers to investigate organised immigration crime.
The UK Border Agency's risk and liaison overseas network (RALON) links with agencies at home and abroad to tackle immigration abuse, and works with airlines to prevent the carriage of inadequately documented passengers.
Anyone who has information on suspected immigration offenders can contact Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111 anonymously.