Derby

Derby man held in migrant smuggling probe

Rekawt Kayani's arrest Image copyright National Crime Agency
Image caption Rekawt Kayani was arrested when National Crime Agency officers raided his home in Normanton, Derby

An Iraqi man suspected of smuggling hundreds of migrants into the UK is facing extradition to France after being arrested at his home in Derby.

The National Crime Agency believes Rekawt Kayani is the head of a people-smuggling network.

The 34-year-old was one of three men detained as part of a joint investigation with French authorities.

The other two men - a 29-year-old from Derby and a 32-year-old from Gillingham - have been released on bail.

Image copyright Harwich International Port
Image caption It is alleged that Rekawt Kayani was involved in numerous smugglings runs, including one which resulted in 68 migrants being found inside four lorries at Harwich International Port

Mr Kayani was arrested at him home in the Normanton area of Derby on Wednesday.

He appeared at Westminster Magistrates' Court in London on Thursday and has been remanded in custody until a hearing on 5 July.

It is alleged he organised numerous smuggling runs, including one in June 2015 when 68 migrants were found inside four lorries at Harwich International Port, in Essex.

Thirty-five of the migrants were from Afghanistan, 22 from China, 10 from Vietnam and one was from Russia.

Image copyright National Crime Agency
Image caption Rekawt Kayani was one of three men detained as part of a joint investigation with French authorities

The National Crime Agency (NCA) also believes he orchestrated runs from Dieppe, in France, to Newhaven, East Sussex.

These included a run in January when seven migrants - five from Vietnam and two from Iraq - were found crammed inside a concealed compartment in the back of a van.

NCA officer Mick Pope said: "Kayani was targeted by the UK Organised Immigration Crime Taskforce as we believe he is responsible for smuggling hundreds of migrants into the UK."

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