United Kingdom

Six men charged after hundreds of Iraqi-Kurdish migrants were allegedly smuggled into UK

Six men have been charged with being part of an organised network that allegedly smuggled hundreds of Iraqi-Kurdish migrants into the UK.

The men, aged between 27 and 64, were arrested in a series of raids by the National Crime Agency (NCA) and police in February 2018.

The suspects are accused of being in a Kurdish network that charged migrants between £5,000 and £10,000 to be smuggled into the UK, via France, Belgium and the Netherlands, said the NCA.

The network used lorries to transport people to Britain and a number of HGVs were intercepted on the way, the agency added.

Five of the men are from the northeast of England, while the other is from London.

They are due to appear at Newcastle Magistrates’ Court on Thursday.

Mark Spoors, NCA regional head of investigation, said: “This has been a long and complex investigation, involving partners from across Europe, including law enforcement agencies in France, Belgium and the Netherlands as well as here in the UK.

“Since the operation, which saw the arrests took place, we have worked patiently and diligently to build up evidence which has now led to these charges being authorised by the CPS.

“We remain determined to disrupt and dismantle organised crime networks involved in people smuggling.”

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