A man has been arrested in connection with the deaths of 39 Vietnamese migrants found in a container truck in Essex.
The unnamed man, a Vietnamese national, was arrested Thursday at a supermarket gas station in Middlesbrough, just off the A66, around 1 p.m., the National Crime Agency (NCA) reported.
He would have played a “key role” with his arrest described as “significant”.
The man is wanted by Belgian authorities – who claim he was a member of a migrant smuggling ring transporting migrants through Belgium, France and Britain in the backs of trucks.
The suspect, who is said to have ties to Birmingham, is said to have run shelters in Brussels, where the victims stayed before leaving.
He allegedly organized their transport by taxi to a collection point in France, where they were stowed in the back of the refrigerated truck.
The bodies of the 39 migrants were found in an industrial estate in Grays, Essex, just after the container arrived on a ferry from Zeebrugge in Belgium in the early hours of October 23, 2019.
The victims included 10 teenagers, including two 15-year-old boys.
The suspect is due to appear before Westminster Magistrates’ Court on Friday, where extradition proceedings will begin.
NCA Immigration Organized Crime Operations Chief Miles Bonfield said: “This is another significant arrest in terms of identifying those involved in the events that led to the tragic deaths of these 39 migrants.
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This notice was published: 2021-06-17 16:37:00