News, Teesside

350 NCA officers carry out raids in Hartlepool, Middlesbrough and Stockton

The National Crime Agency have carried out one of their biggest operations in the north east.

The National Crime Agency (NCA) says it is carrying out a ‘major operation’ in multiple locations.

The NCA said that the gang was targeted by more than 350 officers as they smuggled people across the Channel in lorries.

The NCA launched a major strike against people suspected of people smuggling and took down a north east network which was operating in Hartlepool, Stockton and Middlesbrough.

Working with Cleveland Police they detained and arrested twenty-one suspects following early mornings raids in Hartlepool, Stockton, Middlesbrough, London and East Sussex.

They are suspected of charging illegal immigrants £10k to be hidden in the back of trucks heading across the English Channel.

The group trafficked immigrants who are mostly Iraqi Kurds and families to the north east.

The NCA arrested two men who are suspected of organising the gang which operated from France, Belgium and Holland.

More than 350 police officers were involved in the raids co-ordinated by the National Crime Agency after a year-long investigation.

Investigators were also raiding car wash premises thought to have been used for laundering cash from the smuggling operation.

The work follows a year long under cover operation in Hartlepool, Stockton and Middlesbrough which has today seen a good result for the National Crime Agency.

Those arrested will be held for interview at police stations across the North East.

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