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Five years for people smuggler caught in undercover NCA investigation

A man who helped organise a plot to smuggle illegal immigrants into the UK has been jailed for five years after an undercover NCA investigation.

Mark Minister, 47, acted as a middle-man for members of an organised crime group which an undercover NCA officer had infiltrated.

Scott Downie, 31, and Anthony Corkovic, 28, were jailed in October 2017 for their part in the conspiracy.

Minister, of Hodge Road, Walkden, Greater Manchester was sentenced at Manchester Crown Court for his role in the people smuggling plot.

In 2017 NCA officers discovered the conspirators were planning to establish a scheme to smuggle people into the country. They hoped to pocket around £4,000 for each person brought into the UK.

Plans were made to collect around 10 people from the continent on 31 May 2017 but the the attempt was called off.

In August 2017, Minister was arrested and subsequently pleaded guilty to assisting in unlawful immigration.

After the aborted attempt Corkovic, of Murray Street, Salford, and Downie, of Seedley Road, Salford, were involved in a second conspiracy to assist unlawful immigration.

They both pleaded guilty and were each jailed for seven years along with Jetlind Gjyriqi, of Approach Road, Merton, London.

NCA senior investigating officer Jez Hope yesterday said:

“We are doing everything possible to prevent people smuggling which is a priority threat for the National Crime Agency.

“We have knocked a hole in this organised crime group’s abilities.

“The crime group treated people as a commodity to make profit from; perfectly happy to risk their safety on incredibly dangerous journeys over hundreds of miles.

“Organised immigration crime cuts across borders so it’s vital that international law enforcement shares intelligence and works together.”


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