Albanian gang from London accused of smuggling migrants arrested

In addition to the five suspects held in London, the other two arrests were in Horley in Surrey and Didcot in Oxfordshire.

Many of the migrants are believed to have been brought in concealed behind furniture in vehicles hired specially to carry out illegal people smuggling using a network with connections across Europe.

The migrants were paying as much as £25,000 to be brought in with many believed to be going on to work in the illegal economy once in Britain.

But after six different attempts were foiled by Border Force staff at the Coquelles terminal near Calais and another two were stopped before reaching the coast, the crime group behind the trafficking was uncovered.

Seven members, including three held in Purley, one detained in Morden and another in Croydon, have now been arrested in raids involving more than 100 officers from the National Crime Agency, the Met and Home Office immigration enforcement teams.

Around £30,000 in cash was also seized, although the NCA said the scale of the gang’s activities had involved potentially hundreds of thousands of pounds of turnover.

All of the suspects are being questioned on suspicion of offences including conspiring to facilitate illegal entry to the UK and money laundering.

Commander Richard Harrison, from the NCA, said the gang had been risking the safety of the smuggled migrants and threatening the security of the UK border through its unlawful activities.

“We believe these arrests will have significantly disrupted an organised criminal network responsible for smuggling potentially hundreds of people into the UK illegally,” he said.

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