Migration

Smugglers responsible for hiding migrants in vans brought to justice

Two men who dangerously smuggled 31 illegal migrants into the UK, including seven children and a pregnant woman, have been sentenced to 14 years in prison.

Akan Brayan, from Nottingham, and Dylan Shwani, from Lincoln, were convicted of recruiting drivers to hide migrants in hired vans containing various goods before smuggling them into the UK.

The defendants, both 37, were sentenced at Nottingham Crown Court on June 7, 2022, following a five-year investigation by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ Criminal and Financial Investigations (CFI) unit. Interior. They were each sentenced to seven years in prison.

Between 2016 and 2018, Brayan and Shwani paid six drivers from the Nottinghamshire and Lincolnshire regions to bring 31 Iraqi migrants, on six occasions, to the country.

Although the majority of the migrants are men, one-year-old children and a pregnant woman were also found in the vans.

People were crammed into vehicles among piles of tyres, second-hand furniture and household items being transported to the UK. Photos show a woman cradling a small child in one of the vans, with other children seated around her in the tightly enclosed space.

CFI teams found boxes of goods deliberately placed to hide people as well as paprika on the floor of one of the vans to try to prevent sniffer dogs from detecting the smells of migrants.

Minister for Justice and Combating Illegal Migration MP Tom Pursglove said:

These brazen attempts to smuggle illegal migrants, including very young children, into the UK in tiny airtight spaces with room to barely move, are despicable.

Our expertly trained officers continue to work around the clock to prevent this illegal activity, which puts lives at extreme risk.

The Nationality and Borders Act will make it easier to prosecute people smugglers and, by making it a criminal offense to arrive in the UK illegally, we can truly break the business models of these callous criminals.

Ben Thomas, Deputy Director of Criminal and Financial Investigations at Immigration Enforcement, said:

My team works tirelessly to bring to justice anyone who attempts to smuggle people into the country.

These two evil men have put the lives of people, including children, in danger to line their pockets without caring in the world about their safety. I hope these convictions send a strong message that breaking the law and putting people’s lives at risk will not go unpunished.