A man from Sudan has been sentenced to 18 months in jail after a National Crime Agency investigation into people smuggling.
Howmalow Mawum-Duop, 22, was identified piloting a large rigid hulled inflatable boat (RHIB) on its interception by UK Border Force off the Kent coast. The vessel was travelling to the United Kingdom from Northern France, near Sangatte, and was carrying over 70 migrants.
On the 26 September, in communication with the French authorities and the NCA, Border Force intercepted the boat.
It had earlier been involved in an incident on a French beach which led to the death of a female who was thought to be trying to board the vessel.
A young male wearing a bright green hoodie was spotted in control of the steering. He turned off the engine, and attempted to move away from the tiller as the Border Force vessel approached.
Due to his distinctive clothing, the individual was later identified as Mawum-Duop, who was arrested by NCA officers and charged with immigration offences shortly after.
In an interview, he stated that he left Sudan in February 2021 and passed through Chad, Libya, Tunisia and Italy on his way to France.
Despite originally arguing that he had not been in control of the vessel at any time, or asked for payment from any of the individuals aboard, Mawum-Duop later pleaded guilty to facilitating illegal immigration.
He was sentenced to 18 months on Friday, 2 February 2024, at Canterbury Crown Court.
The investigation into the death of the female migrant, which is being led by the French authorities, continues.
Kathryn Philpott, NCA Senior Investigating Officer, said:
“Tackling people smuggling is one of the highest priorities for the National Crime Agency, and we are determined that individuals who put other people’s lives at risk in pursuit of profit are held accountable.
“Working closely with our partners in France, we were able to stop this boat off the coast of England, safeguard those aboard and ensure that Mawum-Duop was brought to justice.”
5 February 2024