An Afghan national believed to be a leading member of an international people-smuggling network has been arrested in north London.
Gul Wali Jabarkhel, 32, who was in the UK illegally, was detained by National Crime Agency (NCA) officers in Colindale on Thursday evening.
Jabarkhel is suspected of being a high-ranking member of a significant Afghan organised crime group involved in transporting migrants from northern France and Belgium into the UK in the backs of lorries.
The group allegedly had contacts with organised gangs in Belgium, and planned to use lorry drivers to smuggle migrants across the Channel on a regular basis.
He faces two charges of conspiracy to facilitate illegal migration to the UK and will appear at Willesden Magistrates’ Court on Saturday.
NCA Branch Commander Andy Noyes said: “This is a significant arrest. Jabarkhel is suspected of running a criminal enterprise which involved migrants being moved across the Channel in lorries in dangerous circumstances.
“Organised immigration crime sees people treated as a commodity to be exploited and profited from, and tackling it is a priority for the NCA.
“This arrest is another example of the success we are having in targeting those suspected of involvement in people smuggling impacting on the UK. Others engaged in this kind of activity should take note.”
By Ted Hennessey