Man arrested on charges of smuggling people into the UK

Prasun Sonwalkar/London
Filed on July 10, 2021
A person exits Bank underground station in the City of London financial district in London. — Reuters file

Gul Wali Jabarkhel, 32, who was in Britain illegally, was detained by NCA on Thursday

Britain’s crime prevention officials have arrested an Afghan national in north London on suspicion that he is one of the leaders of an international people smuggling network, the United Kingdom’s (UK) National Crime Agency (NCA) said on Saturday.

Gul Wali Jabarkhel, 32, who was in the UK illegally, was detained by NCA officers in Colindale on Thursday evening.

He is suspected of being a high-ranking member of a significant Afghan organised crime group (OCG) involved in transporting migrants from northern France and Belgium into the UK in the back of lorries.

The group had contacts with other OCGs based in Belgium and planned to use complicit lorry drivers to smuggle migrants across the channel on a regular basis, officials said.

After he was questioned by NCA investigators, the Crown Prosecution Service authorised two charges of conspiracy to facilitate illegal immigration to the UK against him.

NCA branch commander Andy Noyes said: “This is a significant arrest. Jabarkhel is suspected of running a criminal enterprise which involved migrants being moved across the channel in lorries in dangerous circumstances”.

He added: “Organised immigration crime sees people treated as a commodity to be exploited and profited from, and tackling it is a priority for the NCA. This arrest is another example of the success we are having in targeting those suspected of involvement in people smuggling impacting on the UK. Others engaged in this kind of activity should take note,” he added.

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