Ten arrested in London after '£15m smuggled from UK to Dubai hidden in suitcases'

20 November 2019, 21:00 | Updated: 20 November 2019, 23:24

Ten people suspected of smuggling more than £15m of dirty money from the UK to Dubai in suitcases have been arrested in a series of raids.

The alleged members of an organised crime group are accused of being part of a "well-orchestrated conspiracy" to launder millions made through drugs and people smuggling over three years, the National Crime Agency (NCA) said.

They are also suspected of trying to smuggle 17 migrants into Britain over the summer, the NCA added.

Officers recovered cash, illegal drugs and luxury cars, including Range Rovers, Audi Q7s and a BMW 5 series, during dawn raids at addresses across west London on Wednesday.

A 41-year-old man suspected of being the ringleader was arrested, while five Indians, one French national and four Britons - all aged between 28 and 44 - were also held.

They were detained on suspicion of money laundering and facilitating illegal immigration, the NCA said.

The raids took place in Hayes, Hounslow, Uxbridge and Southall.

The operation follows an investigation into cash seizures of more than £1.5m made by Border Force officials during 2019.

Chris Hill, NCA senior investigating officer, said: "Cash is the lifeblood of organised crime groups and they need the services of money launderers.

"We believe that the action we and our partners have taken will have caused permanent damage to a well-established money laundering network.

"We are determined to do all we can to target illicit financial flows and hit organised criminal networks where it hurts - in the pocket."