By: Saumesh Thimbath
The UK’s National Crime Agency (NCA) said on Tuesday that 16 people, including several men and women of Indian descent, had been found guilty after a major investigation into an organised crime gang operating out of west London engaged in both international money laundering and human smuggling.
Between 2017 and 2019, members of the criminal organisation travelled to Dubai on hundreds of occasions and transported more than GBP 42 million in cash out of the UK.
The money, according to NCA investigators, was made from the selling of illegal “Class A” drugs and organised immigration crime.
The individuals arrested and charged as part of the operation were prosecuted in two trials at Croydon Crown Court in south London starting in January this year.
“Ringleader” Charan Singh, Valjeet Singh, Jasbir Singh Kapoor, and Jasbir Singh Dhal were convicted of conspiring to remove criminal property or engage in money laundering in the first trial.
Diljan Singh Malhotra was found guilty of conspiring to aid a breach of immigration law, while Swander Singh Dhal was found guilty of conspiring to remove illicit goods and conspiring to facilitate a breach of immigration law.
All six, in their 30s and 40s, have been remanded in judicial custody pending their sentencing in September.
Amarjeet Alabadis, Jaginder Kapoor, Jackdar Kapoor, Manmon Singh Kapur, Pinky Kapur, and Jasbeer Singh Malhotra were found guilty of taking illegal property in the second trial and were released on bail.
The NCA said around GBP 1.5 million was seized from couriers leaving the UK but flight analysis, evidence from cash declarations in Dubai, and other material seized showed the group had succeeded in transporting far more.
NCA officers also uncovered a plot involving members of the criminal gang to smuggle 17 migrants, including five children and a pregnant woman, into the UK in the back of a van carrying tyres in 2019.
The van was intercepted by Dutch police, who were working with the NCA, before it could reach a ferry at the Hook of Holland.
In November 2019, following weeks of surveillance, communications and flight data analysis, NCA officers moved in to make arrests.
“Gang ringleader Charan Singh, 44, from Hounslow, was among those detained in a series of early morning raids across west London,” the NCA said.
Investigators were able to demonstrate that Singh, who had previously resided in the UAE, had paid for other network members’ travels to Dubai so they could bring cash.