November 21, 2023
HANOI – A Vietnamese man has been jailed for more than five years in England for the role he played smuggling migrants into the UK.
Nguyễn Mai Văn, 34, was found guilty of being a key player facilitating the illegal migration of Vietnamese people into the country in the backs of lorries.
His arrest followed an investigation by the UK’s National Crime Agency.
NCA Branch Commander Mick Pope said: “Nguyễn Mai Văn was part of a criminal network that treated people as nothing more than a commodity, happily risking their lives by putting them in the back of lorries for long journeys.
“His conviction is the culmination of a painstaking investigation by the NCA, focusing on a gang bringing people into the UK illegally and then arranging for them to move into the illicit economy where again they would be exploited.”
He worked with Birmingham-based Lê Hải Xuân, 34, to arrange at least six crossings in August and September 2020.
Le was convicted in December 2022 for his part in the network, and was later sentenced to seven-and-a-half-years in jail.
Nguyễn’s role in the group was to receive the migrants once they had arrived, facilitating their movements to safe houses operated by the group in the West Midlands and collecting payments.
Some of those smuggled in are believed to have ended up working in cannabis factories.
NCA investigators were able to piece together Nguyễn’s involvement in the conspiracy through phone analysis and surveillance, which showed him in regular communication with other gang members around the time the six smuggling attempts took place.
A third man, taxi driver Habib Behsodi, age 42 and from Chatham in Kent, worked with Nguyễn and Lê to pick up migrants from lorries in the southeast of England, driving them up to the West Midlands.
Nguyễn met Behsodi on a number of occasions to facilitate payments to those involved in transporting the Vietnamese nationals.
Behsodi was also convicted in December 2022 and given a two-year suspended sentence.
On Friday, 17 November, following a three-week trial, a jury at Birmingham Crown Court found Nguyễn guilty of conspiring to facilitate illegal immigration. He was jailed for five-and-a-half years. — VNS