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Two men suspected of ‘running flight smuggling ring’ arrested

Two men believed to be part of a north London smuggling ring have been arrested after a series of police raids.

The pair, both Albanian nationals, were arrested in Finsbury Park on Tuesday morning, and are believed to be part of a gang booking people flights into the UK with fake documents.

In a statement, the Home Office said that the network of traffickers allegedly booked 27 migrants onto 11 flights, and told them to claim asylum using their passports on arrival.

Class A drugs were found at the London property during the raid. One of the men was later arrested on suspicion of drugs supply.

The two men were identified after investigating officers – from the Home Office Criminal and Financial Investigations team and Border Force – connected their booking details with migrants arriving on flights illegally between July 2022 and January 2023.

Officers found evidence of fake UK biometric residence permit documents and airline tickets issued by the suspects to migrants attempting to reach the UK illegally.

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It comes after seven suspected members of the same gang were arrested last month during raids at three Finsbury Park addresses.

All of the arrested suspects have been bailed pending further investigation.

Minister for Countering Illegal Migration, Michael Tomlinson, said in the statement: “People smuggling networks will stop at nothing in their efforts to abuse our borders and our laws. They are putting lives at risk.

“It is vital we stay ahead of the criminal gangs behind these crimes, and I thank our officers whose hard work led to the success of this operation.”

The activity comes as the UK has set up a new joint taskforce with Albania.

Since 1 July 2021, more than 8,000 Albanian nationals who have committed criminal and immigration offences have been returned, according to the Home Office.

Sky News Source