19 October 2017
Four men suspected of moving Ukrainian nationals from Europe into the UK have been charged with people smuggling offences following an investigation by the National Crime Agency.
The four were arrested by NCA officers after a yacht with 19 migrants on board arrived in Southwold on Sunday 15th October, having sailed across the North Sea from the Netherlands.
Ukrainians Yuril Dzhuraniuk, 26, Mykhailo Riok, 27, Yevhenii Vasilikov, 30, and Yupi Karakin, 27, were all charged with facilitating illegal migration.
They are due to appear at Blackfriars Crown Court on 14th November 2017.
Border Force officers on board the coastal patrol vessel ‘Alert’, together with NCA officers stopped the yacht after it reached the port in Southwold.
Two suspected crew members and nine migrants were arrested by NCA officers. The remaining ten migrants had already been transferred into vehicles for onward transportation.
Those vehicles were stopped by Suffolk Police officers as they drove towards Ipswich and the migrants, together with two drivers, were arrested for immigration offences.
The group of 19 migrants, consisting of both men and women, were detained by Immigration Enforcement.
Brendan Foreman, the NCA’s Regional Head of Investigations said: “The majority of illegal migrants rely on organised criminals when coming to the UK with their fate upon arrival often being unknown. Such criminals seek to exploit vulnerable people for profit without any thought for their safety.
“The NCA works collaboratively with its law enforcement partners to protect the integrity of the UK’s border by targeting the illegal networks involved in organised immigration crime and disrupting their activity.
"The involvement of Border Force, Immigration Enforcement and Suffolk Police was crucial to the success of this particular operation and to ensuring the safety of those at risk."
Doug McLellan, Border Force Maritime Command, said: "This is one example of how Border Force works constantly to protect the UK’s coastline, with our coastal patrol vessels playing a key role in this.
"These boats carry out regular patrols of our waters, and are always ready to respond quickly when needed. We will continue to join forces with law enforcement partners to protect our borders against those who seek to abuse our immigration laws.”
This investigation forms part of Project Invigor, the UK’s Organised Immigration Crime Taskforce that targets the criminal networks behind people smuggling. It is led by the NCA and includes partners such as Immigration Enforcement, Border Force and the Crown Prosecution Service, working in the UK and internationally.