SIXTEEN members of a West London crime group involved in international money laundering and people smuggling have been jailed for up to 15 years.
National Crime Agency (NCA) officers seized £1.5 million – believed to be proceeds of class A drugs sale and immigration crime – from the organised network led by its ringleader Charan Singh.
But analysis of data indicated that the gang was likely to have smuggled around £70m out of the UK between 2017 and 2019.
Investigators also discovered the gang’s plot to smuggle 17 Afghan migrants, including five children and a pregnant woman, into Britain in the back of a van in 2019.
The van carrying tyres was intercepted by Dutch police, who were working with the NCA, before it could reach a ferry at the Hook of Holland.
Charan Singh, from Hounslow, and other members of the crime group were arrested in west London in 2019 after weeks of surveillance and flight data analysis.
The gang leader, who had relocated from the UAE, paid for flights to Dubai for other members of the network to carry cash, Croydon Crown Court heard.
A ledger he maintained showed he and his couriers made at least 58 trips to Dubai during 2017 alone.
Charges were brought against 18 people after the NCA’s “long and complex investigation” which lasted for more than two years.
Charan Singh and five others were convicted of money laundering while six others later admitted to similar offences. Two other defendants were additionally convicted of facilitating illegal immigration along with a third individual.
On Friday (15), the court sentenced Charan Singh to a 12-and-a-half year jail term and his right hand man Valjeet Singh to 11 years of imprisonment. Charan Singh’s trusted lieutenant Swander Singh Dhal was handed a 15-year jail term – 10 years for money laundering and an additional five years for people smuggling.
Jasbir Singh Kapoor (nine years and six months), Jasbir Singh Dhal (seven years and six months), Diljan Singh Malhotra (six years), Mircea Denes (six years), Sundar Vengadassalm (10 months), Amarjeet Alabadis (one year and 11 months) and Jaginder Kapoor (three years and nine months) were also jailed.
Other members of the gang sent to jail are Jackdar Kapoor (four years and six months), Manmon Singh Kapur (four years), Pinky Kapur (11 months) and Jasbeer Singh Malhotra (one year and five months).
Two others – Louise Smith and Joe Round were handed suspended jail terms of 16 months and 12 months respectively.
Denes was sentenced in his absence as he absconded. A warrant has been issued for his arrest.
The NCA’s senior investigating officer Chris Hill said Charan Singh and his network, who thought they were “untouchable” moved “tens of millions of pounds of criminal cash out of the UK.”