Wednesday, 12th March, 2014
Any home is a potential target for burglars; some are more appealing than others and some offer themselves up with a bow that begs to be opened.
A criminal network has been dismantled after four people smugglers went ‘into business’ with two undercover officers.
The men, who believed they were working with Dutch lorry drivers to smuggle illegal immigrants into the UK, received sentences totalling over 17 years following a joint operation involving the NCA, the Royal Netherlands Marechaussee and Humberside Police.
During the trial at Kingston-upon-Hull Crown Court, the jury heard how head of the network, Ali Raza, aged 38, of Brendon Avenue, Hull, ran the people smuggling racket from his car wash on Hedon Road.
Raza approached the undercover officers and offered money to smuggle people into the country, claiming other drivers had earned £120,000 over a three-month period.
Arrangements were made for the officers to meet Raza's criminal associates, Emrullah Tozsu, aged 35, from Enfield, London, and Arras Monsar-Chafik, aged 25, from France, in the Netherlands for a handover.
The network believed five illegal immigrants - four women and one man – would be smuggled into the UK via the Port of Rotterdam, but their plan failed when a coordinated strike was called on 26 September 2013.
NCA officers arrested Raza while the Royal Marechaussee apprehended Tozsu and Monsar-Chafik on the A58 motorway near to Roosendaal. The illegal immigrants were also detained. A fourth man, Abdulkarim Helmand, aged 32, from the Netherlands, was picked up the following day.
David Norris, NCA Branch Commander, said: "Raza headed a people smuggling racket that preyed on vulnerable people in order to line his own pockets. We will continue to work with partners here and overseas to protect our borders and target those involved in this illegal trade."
Analysis of the times and dates of phone calls proved all four men were in constant contact around the time of the handover. The two drivers, Tozsu and Monsar-Chafik, called each other 17 times between midnight and 3.27am on the 26 September. The network also used coded messages, referring to the illegal immigrants as 'Marlboros'. Women were 'red Marlboros' and men were 'white Marlboros'.
The illegal immigrants detained, who are believed to be Syrian, were smuggled through Turkey, Albania, Italy, France and Belgium before reaching the Netherlands.
Raza received a six-year sentence after pleading guilty to conspiracy to facilitate illegal entry. Tozsu and Monsar-Chafik were found guilty and were jailed for five and four years respectively. Helmand pleaded guilty and was sentenced to 28 months.
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