Britain’s National Crime Agency (NCA) has carried out a series of raids on a gang suspected of smuggling £15.5 million of dirty money out of the UK in suitcases.
Ten people were arrested during the operation led by the National Crime Agency (NCA) on Wednesday, including a 41-year-old man thought to be the ringleader who was held in Hayes, west London. The gang was led by an Indian national from his home in Hayes, near Heathrow airport.
Ten suspected members of an organised crime group have been arrested today on suspicion of flying an estimated £15.5million out of the UK to Dubai hidden in suitcases.
The NCA said that the suspects are alleged to have been part of a well-orchestrated conspiracy to launder millions of pounds of money made through Class A drugs and organised immigration crime, transferring it from the UK to Dubai over the last three years.
The NCA said the group had moved £15.5 million over the past three years, and also claims they tried to smuggle 17 migrants into Britain this summer.
The NCA said that in dawn raids on Wednesday, five Indian nationals, one French and four British – all aged between 28 and 44 – were arrested.
They were held on suspicion of money laundering and facilitating illegal immigration.
Cash, drugs and a number of cars including Range Rovers, Audis and BMWs were seized during the raids in Hounslow, Hayes, Uxbridge and Southall.
The operation followed an investigation into cash seizures of more than £1.5 million made by Border Force officials during 2019.
Chris Hill, NCA senior investigating officer, said: “Cash is the lifeblood of organised crime groups and they need the services of money launderers.
“We believe that the action we and our partners have taken will have caused permanent damage to a well-established money laundering network.
“We are determined to do all we can to target illicit financial flows and hit organised criminal networks where it hurts – in the pocket.”
Ben Russell, Deputy Director of the National Economic Crime Centre, said: “The National Economic Crime Centre (NECC) was able to assist the case team in arranging forensic analysis of seized bank notes. We were also able to use our relationships with our international partners in the UAE to obtain evidence in relation to this case.
“The NECC has a unique role in coordinating the response to cash smuggling with other national and international law enforcement partners. Working together, our aim is to arrest and disrupt the criminals who carry out this type of activity. Our joined up approach within UK Law Enforcement and across the globe helps bring more people to justice.”