National Crime Agency
People smugglers who hid illegal migrants in a lorry jailed
Four people smugglers involved in a plot to bring illegal migrants into the UK from France in a lorry have been sentenced to a total of 10 years in prison.
Iranian national Hiwa Ali, aged 40, Iraqi national Ismael Akdaci, aged 39, and Romanian nationals Constantin Morariu, aged 43, and Ioan-Sorin Moldovan, aged 30, all pleaded guilty at Stafford Crown Court to facilitating two migrants entry into the UK.
Top row left-right: Constantin Morariu, Hiwa Ali, Bottom row left-right: Ioan-Sorin Moldovan, Ismael Akdaci
National Crime Agency officers supporting the Invigor Organised Immigration Crime Taskforce, intercepted the group at Hilton Park services in Staffordshire on 12 February 2019, as they were handing over the migrants.
Moldovan, acting as transport organiser, arranged for corrupt lorry driver Morariu to pick up the migrants - an Iranian and an Iraqi national - in France and drive them across the Channel to the services, where Ali and Akdaci would be waiting for them. Morariu was told by Moldovan he’d be paid for his services.
Akdaci and Ali, who had travelled from Coventry to pick up the migrants, were caught red-handed smuggling them from the lorry to the back of their car. When NCA officers searched the car they found £14,000 in cash hidden inside the lining of the rear seat.
Moldovan had driven from London that day to oversee the handover. Officers searching the lorry subsequently found £1000 cash, believed to be Moldovan’s payment to Morariu.
All four were arrested at the services on suspicion of illegal immigration offences, as well as the two migrants, who were later passed to Immigration Enforcement.
NCA Operations Manager Kay Mellor yesterday said:
“This crime group had no regard to the safety and wellbeing of the migrants. They treated them as nothing more than a commodity to make money from, preying on their vulnerability and desperation to enter the UK.
“Making profit is the motive for criminals and in this case we made sure crime didn’t pay; seizing their cash and shutting down their operation.”
Invigor is the UK’s Organised Immigration Crime Taskforce set up to target the criminal networks behind people smuggling impacting on the UK and the European borders. It is led by the NCA and includes Immigration Enforcement, Crown Prosecution Service, Border Force and the Home Office working in the UK and internationally.
Steve Reynolds, head of the Invigor task force, yesterday said:
“We are committed to doing everything in our power to bring people smugglers targeting the UK to justice, whether they are operating in the UK itself or France, and no matter what means they try to use.
“This operation is another example of our success in doing that.”
Latest News from
National Crime Agency
Former associate high school head who used class A drugs while watching online child sex abuse is jailed24/05/2019 10:10:00
An ex high school associate head teacher has been jailed after he admitted collecting more than 2,000 sexual abuse images of children and possessing class A drugs.
Former lieutenant colonel jailed for live Filipino child sex abuse23/05/2019 16:25:00
A former lieutenant colonel in the British Army has been jailed for 38 months after spending thousands of pounds paying for and directing live-streamed child sexual abuse from the Philippines.
Hundreds arrested and more than £310k cash seized as part of national activity targeting County Lines drug gangs22/05/2019 11:15:00
Gangs targeted in a week of coordinated law enforcement activity across the UK.
al-Assad family cash forfeited in London court22/05/2019 09:25:00
A member of Syria’s ruling Assad family has forfeited the contents of her UK bank account
Hungarian lorry drivers get 20 years for drug smuggling21/05/2019 14:15:00
Two Hungarian lorry drivers have been jailed for 20 years for smuggling 30 kilos of cocaine.
National Economic Crime Centre leads push to identify money laundering activity20/05/2019 16:15:00
Forty-two businesses have been identified as having potential compliance failings in customer checks, record keeping and identifying risk, as part of on-going work by the UK’s anti-money laundering regulatory bodies to combat criminal activity.
Third conviction for Liverpool man guilty of making indecent images of children20/05/2019 12:15:00
A Liverpool man who admitted enjoying watching the live abuse of young childrenhas been jailed after being convicted for the third time in nine years of online child sexual abuse offences.
Major NCA operation targets crime groups involved in the sexual exploitation of women17/05/2019 08:20:00
Man appears in court accused of sourcing properties for use as brothels and cannabis factories