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Two taxi drivers suspected of working with a Vietnamese organised crime gang involved in people smuggling have been arrested by the National Crime Agency.

The first, a 32-year-old man, was detained at his home address in Bolton yesterday (Wednesday 22 September) on suspicion of facilitating illegal immigration

Around £15,000 cash was seized from the property.

The second, a 40-year-old man living in Chatham, Kent, was arrested on suspicion of the same offence this morning.

They were both questioned by NCA investigators regarding their alleged involvement in immigration offences, before being released under investigation.

The arrests are linked to an investigation which saw a man charged following an NCA operation in Birmingham last week.

Vietnamese national Ho Sy Quoc, aged 21, appeared before Birmingham magistrates on 14 September charged with assisting unlawful immigration.

The charges related to the alleged smuggling of Vietnamese migrants into the UK in the backs of lorries in August and September 2020. He was remanded in custody until his next court appearance on 12 October.

NCA Branch Operations Manager Paul Boniface said:

“Organised immigration crime groups require significant infrastructure – from transport to finance or advertising. These are all things we are seeking to disrupt.”

“People smugglers treat migrants as a commodity to be profited from and are quite happy to put lives at risk in dangerous journeys in the back of trucks or in small boats.

“Protecting life and preventing exploitation are our priorities, and this investigation continues.”

The NCA leads the law enforcement response to the organised criminality involved in the trafficking and smuggling of people impacting upon the UK.

The agency investigates the highest harm criminal networks, and currently has around 50 ongoing investigations into networks or individuals in the top tier of organised immigration crime or human trafficking.

23 September 2021