In a landmark case, Mohammed Hossain, the orchestrator of an extensive human trafficking scheme that facilitated the illegal entry of hundreds of migrants into the UK, has been sentenced to 10 years in prison.
The 54-year-old, suspected of amassing a £1 million fortune from his illicit operations, directed a gang that coordinated with lorry drivers to transport people across the English Channel. Hossain’s operations didn’t stop at human trafficking; he was also implicated in the illegal exit of fugitives, some of whom were suspects in grave criminal cases like child abuse and murder, from the UK.
Hossain, a resident of east London, masterminded the logistics of these operations, organizing drivers’ movements and arranging taxis for migrant drop-offs. His organization levied steep fees – £15,000 for entry and £1,000 for exit from the UK, proceeds of which funded his extravagant lifestyle, including luxury cars and private schooling for his children.
His arrest in May 2021 came as the culmination of an elaborate investigation by the National Crime Agency (NCA) that employed surveillance and undercover agents. Video footage of his arrest showed a lorry concealing migrants behind a large crate being searched.
Chris Hill, NCA senior investigating officer, highlighted the successful dismantling of Hossain’s extensive smuggling network, which comprised organizers, middlemen, and lorry drivers. He underscored the network’s negligence of safety and border security, viewing people merely as a source of profit.
Hossain, who also operated a Bangladeshi café, had Noor Ullah, 30, as his main accomplice. The duo, seen having numerous meetings and maintaining regular phone contact, were observed by surveillance teams. Despite admitting to his conspiracy with Ullah post-arrest, Hossain continued to deny his leadership of the crime group. The judge, however, dismissed his narrative as a “tissue of lies.”
During Hossain and Ullah’s arrest, NCA investigators discovered a safe house in Bethnal Green, east London, housing individuals in transit. The residence, outfitted to lodge at least 19 people, had been converted with bunk beds filling each room.
The operation has also led to the conviction of five lorry drivers involved in people-smuggling offenses, including Hakan Zengin, a Turkish lorry driver, arrested in March 2021 with seventeen migrants in his vehicle. He was charged with immigration offenses and received a sentence of two-and-a-half years.