Oct 4 2012 Agency
TWO men behind a lucrative international people smuggling ring have been jailed for a combined 13 years, following a complex two-year investigation.
Khalilullah Aminullah, of Maple Road, Hayes, and Abdul Mahmood Abdul Sami, of Concorde Close, Northolt, attempted to get at least 43 illegal immigrants, mostly Afghan nationals, into European countries including the UK, using counterfeit identity documents.
The pair travelled extensively throughout the Middle East and Europe to co-ordinate their criminal network, and recruited associates - 'facilitators' - who would travel with the migrants, provide them with stolen, forged or false passports as they passed through immigration controls, and the 'customers' would then claim asylum at their final destination.
They would charge £15,000-£20,000 per person for the service.
On one occasion in January, Sami used his credit card to pay for a Afghan passenger with a forged Pakistani Passport on a British Visa to fly to London from Munich.
When stopped, he said he had his travel from Karachi, Pakistan, paid for by a facilitator.
The previous month, ten Afghans with phony Canadian and Portuguese passports were intercepted by Russian border guards in Moscow, Russia, and Sami later transferred £2,500 to the facilitator of this trip, based in Pakistan.
The sophisticated operation was foiled after a two-year investigation by the Serious Organised Crime Agency (SOCA) and the UK Border Agency, working with international law enforcement agencies.
Both men admitted to conspiracy to facilitate the arrival of an asylum seeker into the United Kingdom, and conspiracy to facilitate the commission of a breach of the immigration law of a Member State by a non-EU person.
Aminullah, 30, was jailed for eight years, and Sami, 25, for five years and four months when they appeared at Croydon Crown Court on Wednesday.
Paul Jenkins, SOCA’s Regional Head of Investigations, said: "This complex investigation dismantled a crime group seeking to generate large profits from the organised abuse of immigration and asylum processes.
"The successful collaboration of national and international law enforcement bodies demonstrates the emphatic cross-border response that anyone engaging in this type of organised crime can expect."