People smuggling ringleader ordered to pay back £138k
1 Oct 2019 02:51 PM
The ringleader of an organised crime gang that used small boats to smuggle Albanian migrants across the English Channel has been told to pay back nearly £138,000 in criminal profits.
The confiscation order was granted at the Old Bailey yesterday (Monday 30 September) against Leonard Powell, aged 68, from Farningham, Kent, who is currently serving a nine year prison sentence following an investigation by the National Crime Agency.
A judge ruled that Powell has benefitted from his criminal activity to the sum of £268,294 but that he had available assets of £137,810.
If he fails to pay up within six months he will receive an extra two years on his sentence, and will still owe the money.
Mark McCormack, NCA Branch Commander, said:
“Not only are we targeting and prosecuting criminals involved in this type of offending, but we are also determined to strip assets from them to ensure they don’t benefit financially or materially from their crimes.
“These confiscation orders will help to ensure they forfeit their wealth as well as their liberty. Not paying will keep them behind bars for longer, and the money owed would still hang over their heads.
“The NCA continues to use all the tools at its disposal to target illicit wealth, wherever we find it.”
Powell was convicted, along with his son Alfie (40) and five other men, in September 2018 after a nine week trial.
The trial heard how NCA officers had found the Powell family were working with Albanian criminals Artur Nutaj and Saba Dulaj, who took on the role of ‘travel agents’, organising the illegal facilitation of Albanian migrants into the UK from the north coast of France.
On one such occasion in May 2016 a boat got into difficulty had to be rescued by Border Force, the RNLI and the Maritime and Coastguard Agency.
NCA investigators moved in to arrest the gang after they bought a jet-ski, which they planned to use in further smuggling runs.
The investigation was carried out with the support of the French National Police, Immigration Enforcement, Kent Police and Border Force.