Four arrested on suspicion of bringing 19 illegal migrants to Southwold
- Credit: Nick Butcher
Four men have been arrested on suspicion of attempting to smuggle 19 illegal migrants from Europe into Southwold.
Yuril Dzhuraniuk, 26, Mykhailo Riok, 27, Yevhenii Vasilikov, 30, and Yupi Karakin, 27, all Ukrainian, have been charged with facilitating illegal migration following investigations carried out by the National Crime Agency.
On Sunday, October 15, a yacht carrying 19 migrants arrived in the Suffolk coastal town, having sailed across the North Sea from the Netherlands.
The yacht was stopped by Board Officers on board coastal patrol vessel 'Alert', along with NCA officers, after it reached the town's port.
Two suspected crew members and nine migrants were arrested by NCA officers, with the remaining 10 having already been transferred into a vehicle for onward transportation.
However, these vehicles were subsequently stopped by Suffolk Police as they drove towards Ipswich, with the two drivers and 10 migrants also arrested.
Brendan Foreman, the NCA's regional head of investigations, said: 'The majority of illegal migrants rely on organised criminals when coming to the UK with their fate upon arrival often being unknown. Such criminals seek to exploit vulnerable people for profit without any thought for their safety.
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'The NCA works collaboratively with its law enforcement partners to protect the integrity of the UK's border by targeting the illegal networks involved in organised immigration crime and disrupting their activity.
'The involvement of Border Force, Immigration Enforcement and Suffolk Police was crucial to the success of this particular operation and to ensuring the safety of those at risk.'
Doug McLellan, Border Force maritime command, said: 'This is one example of how Border Force works constantly to protect the UK's coastline, with our coastal patrol vessels playing a key role in this.
'These boats carry out regular patrols of our waters, and are always ready to respond quickly when needed. We will continue to join forces with law enforcement partners to protect our borders against those who seek to abuse our immigration laws.'
The four men are due to appear at Blackfriars Crown Court on November 14, while the 19 migrants have been detained by Immigration Enforcement.