Burnley man arrested in Iraqi people smuggling probe
A Burnley man has been arrested by National Crime Agency officers investigating an alleged people smuggling network operating between Iraq and the UK.
The pair, a woman aged 30 from Manchester, and a man aged 21 from Burnley, were both detained on Wednesday on suspicion of conspiring to facilitate illegal immigration. They are now being questioned.
The man from Burnley was arrested at his place of work in Hazel Grove, Stockport.
The operation follows a series of raids in Manchester, Oldham and Stoke-on-Trent in April, which led to four arrests. All four remain on bail. Two men were arrested in the Ghent area of Belgium at the same time.
NCA officers also detained two men in Scunthorpe and Hull on May 31st. They were released under investigation.
The network, made up of members from or with links to the Kurdish community, is alleged to have smuggled thousands of migrants into Europe, largely from Iraq. Many were trying to reach the UK.
NCA branch commander David Norris said: “People smuggling is a crime which exploits the vulnerable for profit and treats humans as a commodity.
“We believe our initial operation in April caused significant disruption to this criminal network, and our investigation into those around it continues.”