Leader of a major smuggling gang arrested at Manchester Airport after going on the run

The head of a Kurdish people smuggling ring has been arrested after going on the run a month ago
The head of a Kurdish people smuggling ring has been arrested after going on the run a month ago

Authorities believe his gang smuggled at least 1,900 people from the Balkans into Europe for around 1,800 euros each

Published

The head of a Kurdish people smuggling ring has been arrested after going on the run a month ago.

Tarik Namik, 45, from Oldham, was sentenced in his absence to eight years in prison on 9 December last year, after he failed to show up at Manchester Crown Court.

Four other members of his gang were sentenced alongside him to a total of 24 years in jail.

The court heard previously how Tarik Namik became the subject of a National Crime Agency investigation in 2017.

He headed up an organised crime group involved in transporting migrants from Iraq and Iran to the UK hidden in the back of lorries.

Working alongside him Hajar Ahmed, 39 from Manchester and Soran Saliy, 32 from Stoke, who would help coordinate the UK end of the operation.

Habil Gider, 54 from Stoke, acted as an escort for some of the migrants once they were in the UK.

Hardi Alizada, 32, from Nottingham, coordinated operations on the Continent.

The National Crime Agency said the gang operated "a sophisticated and lucrative criminal enterprise, utilising complicit lorry drivers usually from Turkey."

Recordings found on Namik's phone suggested that he may have been involved in the smuggling of at least 1,900 migrants from the Balkans into France or Germany during a 50-day period, charging around 1,800 euros per migrant.

Following his no-show at court a warrant was issued for Namik’s arrest.

He was finally detained as he arrived back into Manchester Airport on a flight from Istanbul on Friday.

He is now scheduled to return to Crown Court on Monday to be formally sentenced.

NCA Branch Commander Richard Harrison said:

“Namik was a prolific people smuggler whose crime group put vulnerable migrants at great risk while he reaped the profits. I’m delighted that he will now face justice for the offences he committed.

“Fugitives never come off our radar, and I’d like to thank our colleagues at Greater Manchester Police for their assistance in ensuring he was detained quickly the moment he set foot back in the UK.”