A man arrested after around a kilo of heroin was found in a National Crime Agency operation in south east London has been charged.
Vietnamese national Hoang Ngoc Troung, aged 49, was detained in the Deptford area yesterday, alongside four other Vietnamese migrants who are believed to have entered the country illegally with him.
Troung has now been charged with possessing a class A drug with intention to supply, and appeared at Bromley Magistrates today (4 December) where he was remanded in custody until his next court appearance at Woolwich Crown Court on 6 January.
Two Vietnamese men arrested at the same time on suspicion of people smuggling offences have been released under investigation.
The remaining migrants are being dealt with by the immigration authorities.
The operation was part of an ongoing NCA investigation into an organised crime group suspected of smuggling Vietnamese nationals into the UK.
3 December 2020
Two suspected people smugglers have been arrested along with five migrants they are accused of bringing into the country, as part of a National Crime Agency investigation into organised immigration crime.
The pair, both Vietnamese men, were detained in the Deptford area yesterday (2 December).
In the same car with them were five Vietnamese migrants, four men and a woman, who it is suspected had been smuggled into the country just hours before.
They were detained on suspicion of entering the UK illegally.
A kilo of what is believed to be heroin was also recovered, with one of the male migrants additionally being arrested for drug smuggling offences.
Searches of two properties in Deptford and Woolwich also led to the recovery of further heroin wraps.
The operation was the latest phase of an investigation into an organised crime group suspected of smuggling Vietnamese nationals into the UK.
The investigation saw two people arrested in London in October and a man detained in Manchester last month. Around £30,000 cash was also seized. All three were later released under investigation.
NCA branch commander Matt Rivers said:
"People smugglers are ruthless and exploitative, treating migrants as a commodity which they move from country to country for profit.
“Tackling them is a priority for the NCA, and this is bringing operational results in the form of arrests and prosecutions.
“The NCA is targeting and disrupting crime groups at every step of the route, in source countries, in transit, near the UK border in France and Belgium, and – as in this case - those operating inside the UK itself.”
The NCA has around 50 ongoing investigations into networks or individuals involved in the top tier of organised immigration crime.
This investigation is being supported by Project Invigor – the immigration crime taskforce led by the NCA, but also including Immigration Enforcement, Border Force and the CPS.