A man who is suspected of being a high-ranking member of a Vietnamese people smuggling network has been arrested as part of a National Crime Agency operation in Birmingham.
The 23-year-old Vietnamese national was held during a raid on a property in the Handsworth area at around six o’clock this morning (Monday 13 September).
He was detained by NCA officers as he attempted to exit the building out of a window onto a flat roof below.
A large quantity of cash, estimated to be around £10,000, was also recovered from the property.
The arrest is the latest phase of an investigation into the smuggling of mainly Vietnamese migrants into the UK in the backs of lorries in August and September 2020.
The man is now being questioned on suspicion of assisting illegal immigration to the UK and money laundering offences.
NCA Branch Operations Manager Paul Boniface said:
“We are determined to disrupt and dismantle people smuggling networks wherever they are operating.
“These groups treat people 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.