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Suspected people smuggling ringleader Alket Dauti arrested

A suspected organised crime boss believed to be behind hundreds of attempts to smuggle migrants into the UK has been arrested.

Albanian national Alket Dauti has been arrested as part of a joint British and Belgian investigation into a crime network.

The group is thought to be using corrupt truck drivers to smuggle men, women and children into the country via the channel ports, most of which are in Kent.

Alket Dauti was detained at his home in south-east London. Image: NCA
Alket Dauti was detained at his home in south-east London. Image: NCA

Dauti was detained at his home in Penge in south-east London yesterday morning.

Often using refrigerated lorries, drivers would allegedly pick up migrants in Belgium before transporting them to the UK.

Belgium prosecutors believe the network had been operating for some time, often organising several smuggling runs every week.

It is thought they have been involved in hundreds of attempts.

Some were thwarted when the National Crime Agency (NCA) alerted Border Force, which managed to intercept migrants on their arrival.

The 31-year-old is set to appear before Westminster Magistrates' Court where he will face extradition to Belgium to face people smuggling charges.

The NCA have uploaded a video of the arrest to its YouTube channel.

Ten others have already been arrested in connection with the same investigation in Belgium, France and Spain.

NCA branch commander Aaron Chappell said: "Organised criminals involved in people smuggling treat humans as just another commodity they can make money out of, with little or no regard for their safety.

"This is demonstrated by the fact they were perfectly happy for men, women and children to spend hours travelling hundreds of miles in freezing refrigerated lorries.

"Through our close working with the Belgian Federal Police and prosecutors we believe we have been able to take out the UK end of this network, and they will now face the courts in Belgium."

Frank Demeester, Belgian Federal prosecutor for West Flanders, said: "We have worked together with the NCA and this case proves that international co-operation is the only way to handle organised crime groups involved in people smuggling.

"Through doing that we believe we have managed to reach the very top of this criminal organisation."

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