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Six arrested in North London people smuggling investigation

Six men have been arrested on suspicion of conspiracy to facilitate illegal migration as part of a National Crime Agency (NCA) probe into a London-based people smuggling network.

NCA officers deployed to properties across north London to arrest the men, aged 29 to 51 and thought to be Algerian and Moroccan nationals, early yesterday morning (20 March).

They are alleged to be key figures in an organised crime group smuggling people from the UK to France in HGVs.

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Among them is the suspected leader of the network, a 39-year-old man from Algeria. All six are now in custody being questioned by NCA investigators.

All six men, aged 29 to 51, arrested on conspiracy to facilitate illegal migration at addresses in Harlesden, Camden, Islington, Maida Hill and Hornsey.

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The arrests come after a more than 100 migrants were discovered in lorry trailers on separate occasions in 2023. The lorries were all intercepted as they travelled to Dover.

Five men have since been convicted of transporting the migrants. Three have been sentenced to a total of 16 years in prison, and two will appear at court on 16 April for sentencing.

Chris Hill, NCA Branch Commander, said: “Today’s action signifies a key moment in our ongoing investigation into a network suspected of smuggling people out of the UK in HGVs to evade border controls.

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“People smugglers don’t care about the wellbeing of those they transport. They see human beings as commodities and put their lives at risk simply in order to make money.

“The risks to life associated with this criminality is why disrupting the groups responsible for smuggling human beings remains an operational priority for the NCA.”

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