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Man wanted over Channel people-smuggling operation facing extradition

File photo dated 20/11/21 of a group of people thought to be migrants are rescued off the coast of Folkestone, Kent. (Gareth Fuller/PA)
File photo dated 20/11/21 of a group of people thought to be migrants are rescued off the coast of Folkestone, Kent. (Gareth Fuller/PA)

A suspected people smuggler has been arrested and is facing extradition.

Iranian-born UK national Kaiwan Poore was detained at Manchester Airport on Wednesday before he could fly to Turkey, the National Crime Agency (NCA) said.

The 37-year-old was wanted by the NCA, which was working with French police to find him.

He is accused by French prosecutors of being part of an organised crime gang smuggling migrants across the Channel in small boats.

Poore is thought to have arrived in the UK from Germany last week, a day before a slew of raids took place across Europe, leading to around 40 arrests as part of the biggest international police operation of its kind.

He appeared at Westminster Magistrates’ Court, wearing a blue T-shirt, on Thursday but the case was delayed because he asked for a Kurdish interpreter and there was not one available.

He was remanded in custody and is due to appear at the same court, alongside an interpreter, on Friday.

Operation Punjum, led by the NCA in the UK, was carried out alongside Operation Thoren in Europe to target a network suspected of smuggling up to 10,000 migrants across the Channel in the last 12 to 18 months.

Nearly a thousand officers were involved in the investigation, which seized about 1,200 lifejackets, close to 150 boats and 50 engines, several thousand euros in cash, firearms and drugs.

A 26-year-old man and a 22-year-old detained in London on suspicion of conspiring to facilitate illegal immigration have been released on bail pending further inquiries.

The major probe began with the arrest of a suspected people-smuggling “kingpin” in the capital in May.

Iranian Hewa Rahimpur, who was living in Ilford, east London, is accused of being a leading figure in a network organising human trafficking via small boats.

The 29-year-old is wanted by authorities in Belgium and faces extradition from the UK. He is next due to appear at Westminster Magistrates’ Court on Friday.

NCA deputy director Jacque Beer said: “Our work to curtail the activities of these gangs continues, and working with our European partners we are determined to do all we can to disrupt them and bring them to justice.”