Man arrested in Portsmouth on suspicion of smuggling hundreds into the country

A 45-year-old man suspected of smuggling hundreds of people into the UK in boats and lorries has been arrested by the National Crime Agency (NCA).

The suspect, who is thought to be a key figure in a Kurdish organised crime group, was detained in Portsmouth, Hampshire, on Wednesday.

An NCA spokesman said: “NCA officers, supported by colleagues from Hampshire police, moved in to detain the 45-year-old at an address in the Kingston area of Portsmouth this morning, arresting him on suspicion of conspiring to facilitate illegal immigration and money laundering.

“He is suspected of controlling a network of people smugglers throughout northern Europe and the Middle East.

A man is arrested by National Crime Agency officers in Portsmouth on suspicion of people smuggling and money laundering (NCA/PA)

“The man is now in custody being questioned by NCA investigators.”

A second man, also suspected of being a high-ranking member of the crime group, was arrested in Italy last month under a warrant obtained by the NCA with extradition proceedings under way to bring him to the UK to face charges.

NCA senior investigating officer Rachel Bramley said: “This arrest marks a significant point in an investigation that has been going on for around two years now.

“It is our belief that this crime group were involved in people smuggling activities using a range of methods, all of which were dangerous and potentially life-threatening for those being smuggled.

“Tackling organised immigration crime remains a priority for the NCA and our investigation into this network continues.”

– Advertisement –
– Advertisement –