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Colindale Barber Shop Used as Front for Human Trafficking Conspiracy UK News

A barber who used his shop as a front for a smuggling plot has been convicted.

Gul Wali Jabarkhel, 33, from Cricklewood, used his barbershop near Colindale as a base for his smuggling scheme in which he attempted to recruit lorry drivers to bring migrants to the UK, the National said Crime Agency (NCA).

He was among four men who were convicted in a trial at Kingston Crown Court on Monday for their role in a gang of “ruthless operators who viewed human beings as little more than than property from which they could profit,” the NCA said.

Jabarkhel – who claimed to have links to Albanian criminals abroad – offered a driver £2,500 in September 2020 for each person smuggled from France or Belgium, with payment to be made at the end.

He was reluctant to smuggle more than five migrants at a time due to the risk of detection, but wanted to strike a permanent deal with the driver, who would make smuggling trips up to three times a month.

Times Series: Gul Wali Jabarkhel.  Credit: National Crime AgencyGul Wali Jabarkhel. Credit: National Crime Agency

The first round was scheduled for November 9, 2020, which involved the smuggling of migrants from Belgium, but Jabarkhel dropped it.

Instead, he and his co-accused Baz Mohammed Jabarkhil, 47, of Mill Hill, left the UK and flew to Kabul, Afghanistan.

NCA detectives worked to keep them from returning, in an effort to stop their plans to smuggle people.

The two men made several attempts to enter the UK illegally using the lorry drivers they had tried to recruit. A plan was drawn up for this in April 2021, for which they were to pay £7,500 each.

Times Series: Baz Mohammad Jabarkhil.  Credit: National Crime AgencyBaz Mohammad Jabarkhil. Credit: National Crime Agency

They turned to fellow gang members Rehan Murudkar, 19, from Edgware, and Mohammad Rafique, 28, from Dollis Hill, for help as they were both out of the country.

They arranged a cash rebate to London Gateway Services on the M1 to help the couple return to the UK.

Murudkar and Rafique were unaware they were being watched by the NCA and were arrested shortly after handing over the money on suspicion of money laundering.

The NCA said they denied involvement in the people-smuggling plot, claiming to buy barber equipment – but this was contradicted by text messages and phone calls they had made.

Times Series: Rehan Murudkar, left, and Mohammad Rafique.  Credit: National Crime Agency Rehan Murudkar, left, and Mohammad Rafique. Credit: National Crime Agency

Soon after, Jabarkhel believed he had finally made it back to the UK illegally – only to be arrested at the barbershop in July 2021.

Jabarkhil also entered the UK illegally two months later via a small boat and was promptly arrested.

Baz Mohammad Jabarkhil, who pleaded guilty to entering the UK illegally in September 2021, and Gul Wali Jabarkhil who pleaded guilty to his role in the conspiracy to smuggle Baz Mohammed Jabarkhil into the UK, must be sentenced on June 1.

After the hearing, NCA lead investigator Chris Hill said: “They attempted to orchestrate dangerous trips across the English Channel in the back of lorries where the risk of injury, or worse, was extremely raised.”

Deputy Chief Crown Prosecutor Kate Anderson said Gul Wali Jabarkhel had shown “no consideration for potential security risks to migrants”.

She said: “The case presented in court highlighted the defendants’ focus on transport, logistics and fee negotiations with truck drivers.

“These crimes are extremely serious and we will continue to work with our partners to ensure those responsible are brought to justice.”

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This notice was published: 2022-04-26 10:05:00

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