People Smuggler Jailed

Daily Mail (UK), October 4, 2006

A ringleader of one of Europe’s largest people smuggling networks has been jailed for eight and a half years.

Turkish national Ramazan Zorlu, 43, had earlier admitted his involvement in the vast trafficking racket, which was smashed by police in a series of raids last year.

The network was thought to be the largest ever encountered by British police and was reportedly responsible for bringing thousands of illegal immigrants onto the streets of the UK.

Zorlu ran the smuggling enterprise with two other Turkish nationals, Ali Riza Gun and Hassan Eroglu, both 47.

Gun will now be sentenced at a later date while Eroglu was jailed for six years at an earlier hearing.

Sentencing Zorlu at Croydon Crown Court Judge Nicholas Ainley said: “I find it hard to conceive of a more serious case of this type of offence coming before the courts.”

Several of Zorlu’s family were in court for the sentencing and one appeared to be in tears outside he courtroom afterwards.

Prosecutor Richard Whittam QC told the court the pair were part of a “sophisticated” operation that spanned Europe.

Most of those brought into the UK were from Turkey, although a number were also from Iraq.

He said Gun and Zorlu were at the “very heart of the controlling network”.

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