Tuesday, October 11, 2005

London Police Break Up European People-Smuggling Ring

London's Metropolitan Police said 18 people were arrested in early morning raids today that broke up the U.K.'s largest people smuggling ring.
The arrests included six men and two women picked up in London, and a man detained in Lincolnshire, eastern England. Seven people, believed to be leaders of the organization, will face conspiracy charges and six people will be charged with being in the country illegally, said Detective Chief Superintendent Bill Skelly, in an interview.The arrests come as the government of Prime Minister Tony Blair seeks to clamp down on illegal immigration and to introduce identity cards to curb crime. The raids follow a two year investigation into the ring, which smuggled mostly ethnic Kurds into London from Turkey through ports in mainland Europe.This is the most significant action taken by the Metropolitan Police against a human smuggling ring, said Skelly. He declined to say how many people it brought into the country.The number may be as high as 200,000, the British Broadcasting Corp. reported, without saying where it got the information.The ring charged as much as 5,000 pounds ($8,760) for passage to Britain, sometimes transporting as many as 20 people at a time hidden in the back of trucks, Skelly said.The mode of transport varied but it was inherently very dangerous,he said.


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