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National Crime Agency officers have arrested a man from Northern Ireland as part of a people smuggling investigation which saw 10 migrants rescued from the back of a lorry.

The 32-year-old was detained in Crossmaglen, County Armagh, this morning (Friday 1 October), in an operation that was supported by the PSNI.

He will now be questioned on suspicion of facilitating illegal immigration, as part of an international investigation also involving law enforcement in Belgium.

The arrest followed the discovery of 10 migrants in a lorry carrying a load of tyres in Belgium in March 2020. Belgian authorities were acting on information from the NCA.

Two Irish nationals arrested in Dover following the incident were later charged, with one pleading guilty and the other awaiting trial.

A man arrested in County Antrim shortly afterwards was released pending a report to prosecutors.

NCA Belfast branch commander David Cunningham said:

“This arrest is a significant development in what has been a long and complex investigation involving international partners.

“Tackling people smugglers is a priority for the NCA, and we are determined to do all we can to disrupt and dismantle the criminal networks involved in this type of exploitative crime.”

01 October 2021