Thursday, May 26, 2005

An illegal immigrant who was previously jailed and deported from Britain is facing prison again

Phil Hazlewood:

Harekrishna Maganbhai Patel headed an organised crime syndicate which conspired to smuggle Indian nationals who had entered Britain illegally into the United States.

The plot was uncovered by Britain’s National Crime Squad and the Immigration Service working with the US Department of Homeland Security’s Immigration and Customs Enforcement division.

Detective Superintendent Adrian Wright, from the National Crime Squad, said: “Indian nationals, including children, who had previously entered the UK illegally, were being smuggled over to America.

“We identified 21 separate facilitations and officers arrested a number of illegal immigrants. But we believe the gang could have smuggled across hundreds more.”

The illegal immigrants, who were paying up to £10,000 each to the gang for successful entry into the US, had photo-substitute British passports and were flying out of London Heathrow and Gatwick airports.

A gang member travelling on a legitimate passport would escort them.

The investigation, which began in September 2003, focused on 36-year-old Patel, from Portland Road, Hove, East Sussex, and Mohammed Ayub Gajra, 41, of Howden Road, Leicester.

Both were jailed for five years in December 2000 for conspiring to facilitate illegal immigration.

Mr Wright said: “Harekrishna was deported to India in October 2002 but within a few months he had illegally re-entered the UK and continued his involvement in the lucrative business of illegal immigration.

“He re-established contact with Mohammed and they returned to their old ways.

“Escorts were recruited to assist the illegal immigrants with checking in, completing forms, answering questions if necessary and ensuring they successfully negotiated their way through American Immigration.”

The pair were arrested in June 2004 when more than 200 officers raided addresses across the country.

They later pleaded guilty to conspiracy to facilitate unlawful immigration into America.

I find it ironic that the British seem to be doing more to prevent illegal immigration into the United States than the Bush administration.

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