Sunday, January 07, 2018

Ex-asylum seeker and bodybuilding 'Mr Big' who helped smuggle 87 illegal immigrants into the UK hidden inside second hand furniture

  • Mohammed Sangak, 31, has been stripped of his luxury cars and cash by police
  • Jailed last year, he earned nearly £300,000 smuggling 87 illegal immigrants 
  • Confiscation hearing heard of £70k Range Rover, £30k Mercedes and £5k cash 
  • Now he has to pay back his £105k of assets or face an extra 18-months in jail
Mohammed Sangak, 31, was said to be 'at the heart' of an operation which saw 87 illegal immigrants being smuggled into the UK has been stripped of his luxury cars and cash
Mohammed Sangak, 31, was said to be 'at the heart' of an operation which saw 87 illegal immigrants being smuggled into the UK has been stripped of his luxury cars and cash
A human trafficker said to be 'at the heart' of an operation which saw 87 illegal immigrants being smuggled into the UK has been stripped of his luxury cars and cash.
Iraqi Kurd Mohammed Sangak, himself a former asylum seeker, was described as the prime organiser and 'driving force' of seven people-smuggling trips across the Channel.
The immigrants originated from China, Kurdistan, Vietnam, Iran and Iraq, and were hidden among van loads of second-hand furniture, mattresses and tyres after being picked up by the gang in Dunkirk, France.
Details of how much money was paid by the desperate refugees were not revealed when 31-year-old Sangak was jailed last year for 10 years after admitting conspiracy to breach UK immigration laws.
But on Tuesday a court ruled the one-time health and bodybuilding magazine model had pocketed £298,863.
However, a judge was told at the confiscation hearing his assets available to be seized totalled just over a third of that amount.
These include a Range Rover worth £70,000, a Mercedes valued at £30,000, and £4,976 in cash.
Sangak was therefore ordered to pay £104,976 within three months, or serve a further 18 months behind bars in default.
Maidstone Crown Court in Kent heard in April last year that 15 illegal entrants, including three children, were discovered secreted in a void among a pile of mattresses after border control officers at the Channel Tunnel spotted condensation on a van roof.
Others were found as they were smuggled through Dover Docks in Kent.

Last year Sangak was jailed for 10 years along with other members of his gang but has since been ordered to pay back nearly £300,000. Marcus Shorter (pictured) was also in his gang and sentenced to four yearsNicodin Ardelean was sentenced to three years and four months
Last year Sangak was jailed for 10 years along with other members of his gang, but he has since been ordered to pay back nearly £105,000. Gang members included Marcus Shorter  and Nicodin Ardelean 

Prosecutor Edmund Fowler told the court Sangak was responsible for overseeing the general operation and involved in every one of the seven smuggling trips carried out between May and December 2015.

On one occasion he paid £2,500 to one driver to bring in a secret 'load'.

Sangak, formerly from St Mary's Island in Chatham, Kent, was also convicted last year of involvement in a 'cash for crash' insurance fraud, said to have netted him almost half a million pounds.

He organised the necessary paperwork in relation to 21 'staged or invented' crashes which resulted in substantial payouts running into thousands of pounds to cover vehicle damage, personal injury, medical costs and solicitors' fees.

However, the prosecution said this number was just 'the tip of the iceberg' as hundreds of driving licences, passports, MOT certificates and hand-drawn maps of accident locations were found at his home.

He was found guilty of conspiracy to defraud between December 15, 2011 and April 1, 2015.
Judge Philip St. John-Stevens said at Sangak's sentencing hearing that both conspiracies were so serious that consecutive jail terms of eight years for human trafficking and two years for the fraud had to be imposed.

He told the father of one: 'It is clear to everyone that individuals trafficked into this country may well be, and often are, vulnerable and can be preyed upon by criminal organisations,' said the judge.

'Often the way they are conveyed into this country is fraught with danger, hidden behind cover loads that in itself is a dangerous enterprise.

'In addition to the position of vulnerability of the individual is the issue of national security. Given the present climate we live in, to facilitate individuals into this country who avoid border controls or official scrutiny has the potential of undermining or at least compromising national security and the seriousness of that cannot be underplayed.

'You were responsible for overseeing the operation. You were a prime organiser. There was significant financial gain for yourself and there was a significant and sophisticated degree of planning given the numbers involved.'

It is not known if confiscation proceedings are to be held in relation to the fraud as all his assets have now been seized.

John William Newitt, 35, was sentenced to two years and six months in prison after pleading guilty to conspiring to do an act to facilitate the commission of a breach of UK immigration law by a non-EU personAdam Dunning, 29, was sentenced to four years and nine months
Sangak, the leader of the gang, owns a Range Rover worth £70,000, a Mercedes valued at £30,000, and £4,976 in cash. He will have to sell these to pay the courts. John William Newitt, 35, (and Adam Dunning, 29,were also gang members who pleaded guilty

The court heard Sangak, who is also known as Rameo Mohammed, was granted indefinite leave to remain in the UK after he fled his home in Kirkuk, northern Iraq, in 2001.

His family was said to be in danger as his father worked for the government.

But Sangak was the only one who left, travelling alone to the UK across five countries in six months via boat, car and lorry, at the age of 14.

He was placed in foster care and said to be 'indebted' to the family who cared for him.

However, the court heard he has amassed 11 other previous convictions for 16 offences including battery and possessing drugs.

Four other men involved in the human trafficking operation were jailed for a total of more than 14 years at the same court in November 2016.

One was a Romanian national wanted on a European arrest warrant in respect of a six-year prison sentence in his home country imposed in 2009 for 'participation in a criminal organisation'.

Sentences of the four ranged from two-and-a-half years to four years and nine months.

Another two men involved were jailed at Canterbury Crown Court for three years and two years four months respectively. Two gang members were each jailed in France for a year.

Two women were handed suspended sentences. 

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