Jailed thanks to the Mail, trafficker who helped fugitives flee
A PEOPLE smuggler has been jailed following an undercover Daily Mail exposé of gangs helping foreign fugitives flee the UK.
Muhamed Alievski, 28, was caught as he was about to leave for France with a wanted Albanian drug offender in the back of his lorry.
Detectives said the driver had provided a ‘crucial service’ for the organised criminal networks that have spirited crooks wanted for serious offences out of the country.
Officers swooped on Alievski hours after a Mail investigation revealed how gangs were cashing in twice by bringing illegal immigrants into Britain and helping fugitives escape back across the Channel.
Before publication, we supplied the National Crime Agency (NCA) with information about the Albanian traffickers brazenly advertising on TikTok who had spoken to our undercover reporters.
It included one offering to help ‘anyone who wants to return to the EU from England by lorry, people with problems who cannot get an airplane’ who promised a ‘100 per cent guarantee’.
Contacted by a reporter, an Albanian smuggler with a UK phone number said he could arrange passage to France that night for £3,000. He gave the postcode of a meeting place in Ashford, Kent – a short drive from the Channel Tunnel and Port of Dover. He added: ‘The driver will be there. Hand the money to the driver and without any worries he will be in France.’
All the intelligence provided by the Mail was fed into an NCA investigation into people smuggling to and from the continent. On the morning our story ran, officers met Alievski in Ashford after setting up a sting in which the gang agreed to take a migrant out of the country for a fee of £2,500. Incredibly, after he was arrested following the exchange of cash, investigators found he already had a wanted man hidden in his lorry.
Prosecutor Daniel Stevenson told Canterbury Crown Court: ‘His lorry was located around the corner. It was searched because officers heard a noise from within the lorry and they discovered a foreign national inside who initially tried to flee before being detained.’
The 22-year-old Albanian hidden in the back was wanted by Oxford Crown Court for breaching a court order for a drug offences conviction. He was arrested and taken into custody. Alievski later admitted a charge of participating in the activities of a people- smuggling organised crime group.
Jailing him for three years, Judge Mark Weekes told him: ‘You were willing to lend yourself to what was obviously a dangerous enterprise for those in the back of the vehicle. These offences create a general risk to safety and security.’
John Barker, defending, told the court Alievski was ‘just a driver’ who had been contacted by the main organiser at the ‘11th hour’ and who had agreed to it because his fee would clear his debts.
Alievski, an ethnic Albanian who had been due to wed on October 15, lived with his family in a village just outside the Macedonian capital of Skopje which is notorious for the number of hardened criminals who live there. His father, Ajvaz Alievski, said that after his arrest his son had protested his innocence to them and claimed that the wanted Albanian had sneaked into his truck as he slept.
After the sentencing, NCA senior investigating officer Andrew Macgill said: ‘This man was willing to smuggle a wanted criminal out of the country for money.
‘Corrupt lorry drivers like him provide a crucial service for the organised criminal groups involved in people smuggling, and the NCA is determined to disrupt and dismantle these networks.’
Alievski is the second criminal to be jailed in three months following Mail exposés. In August, Albanian Selamet Mehmetaj was locked up for four-and-a-half years for running cannabis factories staffed by illegal immigrants that distributed drugs worth millions of pounds a year across the UK.