A man has been arrested in Birmingham in a crackdown on a gang smuggling people into Britain from Vietnam.
Last month, Belgian officials jailed the Vietnamese leader of a smuggling gang for his role in the death of 39 migrants who were suffocated in the back of a truck.
The National Crime Agency launched an operation in Liverpool, northern England, on Tuesday.
Mai Van Nguyen, 32, from Birmingham, was arrested. He was charged with conspiracy to aid illegal immigration and money laundering.
“This is the latest phase of an ongoing investigation into the activities of a major smuggling ring, illegally bringing people into the UK and then laundering the profits,” said Paul Boniface, chief operating officer of the NCA branch.
“These groups treat people like a commodity they can profit from and are very happy to put lives at risk. We are determined to do everything possible to stop them. »
Several arrests were made in Birmingham and Bolton, near Manchester. Two other men face criminal charges.
The NCA leads the law enforcement response to organized crime involved in human trafficking and smuggling.
He has about 50 investigations open into networks or individuals at the forefront of organized immigration crime or human trafficking.
Seven people have also been convicted in the UK for the deaths of the 39 people who had traveled from Vietnam hoping for a better life in Europe. Others have been convicted in Vietnam.
Last month, a judge in Bruges, Belgium, ruled that Vo Van Hong played a key role in moving 15 of the victims across Europe to shelters in Brussels ahead of their ill-fated final journey from northern France by truck and ferry, and imprisoned him for 15 years.
The migrants were found dead in the lorry’s trailer in Grays, southeast England, in 2019.
The 31 men and eight women aged between 15 and 44 would have suffered “excruciatingly painful” deaths, a British judge has said.
Updated: February 10, 2022, 4:42 p.m.