People smuggling gang including mother and daughter jailed

A gang of seven people smugglers including a mother and daughter has been jailed for bringing more than a dozen people into the UK using false documents.

The four women and three men, aged between 24 and 51, smuggled at least 14 migrants from the Middle East to the UK, including people from Palestine, Kuwait and Syria.

The members of the British/Palestinian network undertook these activities between December 2017 and December 2018.

Their crimes started to unravel when Border Force officers stopped 29-year-old Firdos Ahmed (pictured), of Feltham, London, at Harwich Port in Essex.

She was carrying a French ID card in someone else’s name.

A search of her phone found a collection of fraudulent documents and messages with other members of the gang, including her mother, 51-year-old Zarina Abdulla, from Leicester.

The seven gang members were sentenced at Chelmsford Crown Court on Friday.

They were all convicted of conspiring to facilitate unlawful immigration through fraudulent documents, the Home Office’s Criminal and Financial Investigations (CFI) Unit said.

Investigators found that the criminal network had access to around 240 European ID cards and passports.

The majority of these were French documents, but they also included Spanish, Portuguese, Italian and British documents.

The gang organised 26 flights into the UK, of which 11 resulted in 14 undocumented migrants seeking asylum, three resulted in the facilitators being arrested and 12 were unsuccessful attempts.

Members of the network, which was active across Europe including in Belgium, France and Spain, also carried out two attempts through the border at Coquelles in France and Hoek van Holland in the Netherlands.

Micaiah Marley, 29, of Watford, admitted conspiring to facilitate unlawful immigration through fraudulent documents and was sentenced to two years and six months in prison.

The other six defendants were all found guilty of the same offence following a trial, the Home Office’s CFI Unit said.

Firdos Ahmed was jailed for four years and her mother Zarina Abdulla was jailed for three years.

Moussa Aoun, 24, a Lebanese national, from Shepherd’s Bush, London, was jailed for four years.

Zahra Mohammad, 30, of Enfield, was jailed for four years.

Amna Tarmahomed, 28, of Leicester, was sentenced to two years and six months in prison.

Ismail Hussein, 48, a Palestinian national, of Tottenham, London, was jailed for six years.

Immigration Minister Robert Jenrick said: “Today’s sentences show that we will stop at nothing to tackle the despicable smuggling gangs and ensure they are brought to justice.

“Thanks to our specialist teams who work tirelessly to dismantle these international criminal networks, the smugglers are now behind bars.”

Copyright (c) PA Media Ltd. 2023, All Rights Reserved. Picture (c) Home Office / PA.