Five Bangladeshi mini cab drivers from east London has been charged with aiding people smuggling network in UK, the National Crime Agency (NCA) said in a statement on Wednesday (28).
The group, all aged between 40 and 52, appeared before Barkingside Magistrates on Wednesday charged with attempting to facilitate breaches of immigration law.
The gang has been busted following an investigation by the NCA, codenamed Operation Symbolry, into a London-based organised crime group which was involved in smuggling migrants into and out of the UK using lorries.
According to the agency, these taxi drivers moved migrants to and from rendezvous points with heavy goods vehicles (HGV) which would then be used to smuggle them across the Channel. A number of the lorries were later intercepted by the NCA.
They were all bailed to appear before Snaresbrook Crown Court on 26 October 2022.
Five lorry drivers involved in the racket were convicted and jailed for a combined 17 years following Operation Symbolry.
The NCA said that a high-ranking member of the crime network, Noor Ullah, from Church Lane, Leytonstone, was also sentenced to two-years-and-five months’ imprisonment in March 2022.
The alleged ringleader Mohammed Mokter Hossain from Woodford Green had earlier pleaded guilty to conspiring to move people into and out of the UK.
He will be sentenced at Snaresbrook Crown Court on Monday (3).