Up to five years in prison for an Indo-Pakistani illegal immigration network

Two to five years in prison were pronounced by the court of Bordeaux against eleven members of an Indo-Pakistani network of assistance to irregular immigration, we learned Friday from a police source.

The trial of this sector which acted between Portugal, France, Germany and Belgium took place from Monday to Thursday, at the end of an investigation carried out by the Specialized Interregional Jurisdiction. The investigation, which enabled the dismantling of this network based in Lisbon, was carried out from June 2020 to September 2021 by the mobile research brigade attached to the border police service of Hendaye (Pyrénées-Atlantiques).

Nine convoys arrested in flagrante delicto

The defendants, mostly in their thirties, were mostly of Indian or Pakistani origin, with a Togolese and a Brazilian, according to the same source. The head of the network, aged 45, had Portuguese nationality.

The 18 months of investigations made it possible to identify “110 round trips” between Lisbon and Paris, in both directions, made in convoys by several vehicles with 5 to 9 seats transporting foreigners in an irregular situation (up to 40 to that time). Another branch of the network could transport illegal immigrants to Belgium or Germany.

Nine convoys were arrested in flagrante delicto between the Basque Country and Seine-Saint-Denis. The police estimate that between 550 and 1,320 people were able to be transported by the network, for a fee, for a turnover of between 247,500 and 594,000 euros over the period of investigation. The journey between France and Portugal was billed between 300 and 450 euros, the routing in Germany 600 euros.

False papers for illegal immigrants, false permits for drivers

This “installation” sector also provided false administrative documents to illegal immigrants for the purpose of regularizing their situation in Portugal, for around 10,000 euros per person, according to a source familiar with the matter. The drivers used, with whom the organizers communicated via encrypted messaging, had fake UAE driving licenses.

Among the eleven defendants, two are on the run with an arrest warrant. The sentences were accompanied by a permanent inadmissibility. Several Indian or Pakistani smugglers had already been sentenced in November by the Bayonne court.

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