Migrant crisis: People trafficker deported for third time

Convicted people trafficker Hazir Lala
Convicted people trafficker Hazir Lala

Authorities say Hazir Lala has a long list of previous convictions

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A convicted human trafficker is being deported from the UK for a third time in less than two years.

After a National Crime Agency investigation to trace him, officers found Albanian Hazir Lala, 39, in Walthamstow, North London, on Friday night.

He was arrested, taken into custody and handed over to colleagues from Immigration Enforcement for deportation.

Authorities say Lala has a long list of previous convictions.

In April 2016 he was convicted of multiple driving offences and the possession of false ID documents.

He was disqualified from driving for 15 months and jailed for six months.

He was arrested again in the UK on 4 September 2019 for organised immigration crime offences committed in Belgium.

He was extradited to Belgium in early 2020 where he was convicted of human trafficking and participating in a criminal organisation.

Lala was given a five-year prison sentence, which was partially suspended. He was also ordered to pay a fine of €102,000.

But the National Crime Agency said he managed to slip back into the UK a short time later.

He was arrested again under the Immigration Acton 20 February last year for overstaying.

Another deportation order was signed on 7 April 2020 and he was removed and sent back to Albania on 19 August 2020.

But Lala slipped back into Britain for a third time. It is not known what method he used to get past UK border checks.

Crime Agency officers have been hunting Lala since July this year, before arrested him on Friday night.

NCA regional head of investigations Jacque Beer said: “Hazir Lala is a convicted human trafficker and has no place in the UK, his presence here presented an unacceptable risk to the public.

“Tackling organised immigration crime and human trafficking is a priority for the Agency.

“We saw with last week’s tragedy in the Channel, the horrendous dangers of organised immigration crime which the Agency and its partners are doing everything possible to combat.”

According to UK authorities, Albanian organised criminal gangs are one of the groups heavily involved in the cross channel people smuggling.

More than 25,000 migrants have been intercepted in small boats pushed into the channel by people smugglers so far this year, three times more than for the whole of last year.