Five mini cab drivers from East London have appeared in court charged with people smuggling offences.
It follows an investigation by the National Crime Agency – codenamed Operation Symbolry - into a London-based organised crime group involved in smuggling migrants into and out of the UK using lorries.
The group, all aged between 40 and 52, appeared before Barkingside Magistrates today (Wednesday 28 September) charged with attempting to facilitate breaches of immigration law.
They were all bailed to appear before Snaresbrook Crown Court on 26 October 2022.
The mini cab drivers are accused of moving migrants to and from rendezvous points with HGVs which would then be used to smuggle them across the Channel.
A number of the lorries were later intercepted by the NCA.
The investigation has already seen five lorry drivers convicted and jailed for a combined 17 years for their roles. A high-ranking member of the crime network, Noor Ullah, from Church Lane, Leytonstone, was also sentenced to two-years-and-five months’ imprisonment in March 2022.
The alleged ringleader of the group, Mohammed Mokter Hossain from Woodford Green, has pleaded guilty to conspiring to move people into and out of the UK and is due to be sentenced at Snaresbrook Crown Court on 3 October.
28 September 2022