Thursday, October 05, 2006

Turkish gang made millions smuggling illegal immigrants into Britain

Richard Foster:

Leaders of a gang which made millions of pounds smuggling illegal immigrants into the UK have been jailed after Scotland Yard's biggest ever investigation into human trafficking.

Operation Bluesky was the largest investigation into human trafficking ever conducted by the Metropolitan Police.

Several networks, paid directly by the UK-based syndicate, were identified in France, Belgium, the Netherlands, Denmark, Austria and Italy.

UK detectives liaised with colleagues across Europe and eventually unearthed 11,000 pages of evidence with thousands of exhibits, identifying more than 400 illegal immigrants who the gang had attempted to smuggled into the UK over a two-year period.

In October last year police raids led to 21 people being arrested in the UK and 10 were charged with people smuggling. More arrests were made in Belgium.

Three men from Turkey were at the top of the organisation - Ali Riza Gun, Ramazan Zorlu and Hassan Eroglu.

None of them had UK citizenship but all had indefinite leave to remain.

The ring, which had operated for up to 10 years, was run from a number of Turkish cafes in the Green Lanes area of Haringey, north London.

Ali Riza Gun was a repeat offender. He was convicted of people smuggling in the UK in 1996 and sentenced to 30 months in jail.

He was also convicted of people smuggling in France in 1998. He got three years but served only a year.

He had a UK travel permit, and his own false Cypriot passport and specialised in making false passports, dozens of which were found stuffed in a cuddly toy in a flat in Haringey.

When the police seized his computer they found scans of passport stamps which could be overlaid in graphics programmes to make convincing forgeries.

The gang's clients were predominantly Turkish and Kurdish.

DAD-OF-SIX SMUGGLED IN 100,000 MIGRANTS

Jailed for 8½ years: ringleader of human traffickers who thought they were invincible

Trafficking gang 'treated migrants as commodities'

People-smuggling leader jailed

People-smuggler caged for 8yrs

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