Romanian, 29, caught smuggling 17 migrants from the UK

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Alexandru-Dorinel Fuiorea, 29, was stopped by the police and the National Crime Agency at the Medway Services in Gillingham, Kent

A Romanian man caught trying to smuggle 17 migrants from the UK in the back of a truck has been detained for three years.

Alexandru-Dorinel Fuiorea, 29, was stopped by the police and the National Crime Agency at the Medway Services in Gillingham, Kent, while traveling on the M20 last October.

In his trailer – which could only be opened from the inside – authorities found 16 men and a woman of Indian, Pakistani, Tunisian, Moroccan, Bengali and Afghan nationalities.

Fuiorea had made no attempt to hide the migrants and there was no legal cargo on board the truck, Maidstone Crown Court heard today.

Prosecutor Emin Kandola said this was due to the fact that a vehicle leaving the UK “does not normally expect to be searched.”

When asked why the migrants left the UK, she said: ‘There are a number of reasons, but there is no evidence.

“ One is that they have applied for (and failed) asylum, are fleeing to visit relatives in another country, or are on the run from the authorities in that country. ”

Fuiorea, of Luton, Bedfordshire, admitted to assisting in illegal immigration and possession of a small amount of cannabis found in his truck cabin upon arrest.

He was sentenced to three years and eight months in prison.

In his trailer - which could only be opened from the inside - authorities found 16 men and a woman of Indian, Pakistani, Tunisian, Moroccan, Bengali and Afghan nationality.

In his trailer – which could only be opened from the inside – authorities found 16 men and a woman of Indian, Pakistani, Tunisian, Moroccan, Bengali and Afghan nationality.

Fuiorea had made no attempt to hide the migrants and there was no legal cargo on board the truck, Maidstone Crown Court heard today.

Fuiorea had made no attempt to hide the migrants and there was no legal cargo on board the truck, Maidstone Crown Court heard today.

Fuiorea, a professional driver, had been in the UK for over 10 years and had no previous convictions prior to this charge, the court heard.

He claimed to have a debt of £ 17,000 and was threatened with dismissal by his employers if he failed to engage in the human trafficking.

Miss Kandola said that while Fuiorea acted “no higher” than a driver, the prosecution did not accept that he was under pressure from his bosses or that they were behind the operation.

“It was a simple crime, but it clearly undermines cross-border security,” she told the court.

“He played an important role, trafficking 17 people in an attempt to get them out of the country.”

A total of £ 900 was also found in his taxi, but the court was told this did not involve human smuggling and that no confiscation proceedings will take place.

In 2015, an undercover BBC investigation revealed that migrants paid to leave the country to avoid deportation and return to the UK.

Once on the continent, they could apply for asylum and if they were successful they would likely be sent back to an EU country of their choice rather than their home country.

The truck (above) contained 17 migrants, 16 men and a woman, when Fuiorea was stopped last October

The truck (above) contained 17 migrants, 16 men and a woman, when Fuiorea was stopped last October

Verdict verdict, recorder Alistair Webster said that the number of migrants involved was a serious aggravating factor.

He said to Fuiorea: ‘It looks like you may have taken them out of the country to facilitate their entry into another EU country. Whether they had recently come in to be taken out does not matter for the punishment.

This represents the trafficking of vulnerable people who are desperate for a variety of reasons and are largely exploited by those involved in organized crime.

“I accept that your role was only that of a driver and that you would have a limited understanding of what was going on down the road.

“I also accept that any financial gains from this would have been modest and those who would have made the substantial gains were back in line.

It is unfortunate that you did not feel able to help the police and the NCA identify those responsible.

‘It should be clear that anyone who plays a significant role in human trafficking will face severe penalties.

‘This is exploitation of desperate people, it puts a lot of emphasis on border controls and resources, and undermines cross-border security.

“You knew about the people in the back of the truck, you knew they were being trafficked. You may have been under pressure, but the fact is, you took them knowingly. ‘

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