A 39-year-old Russian truck driver has been sentenced to four years and four months in prison after admitting to trafficking migrants from the UK to France.
Nikolai Kuznetsov was apprehended by Border Force agents on August 17, 2023, at Dover Docks.
During an inspection of his vehicle, authorities discovered 22 migrants concealed within his trailer, including a five-year-old girl and her family.
The individuals, originating from North Africa, were attempting to bypass French border and visa regulations.
Kuznetsov was taken into custody by the National Crime Agency under the suspicion of aiding unlawful entry into an EU member state. He entered an early guilty plea at Canterbury Magistrates Court and received his sentence on Friday, January 26.
John Turner, Operations Manager at the National Crime Agency said: “Kuznetsov was complicit with the people smugglers whose only concern was making money, rather than the wellbeing of those individuals found in his trailer. Thankfully they were found and safeguarded, but we know organised crime groups will continue in their attempts to use migrants to make money.
“The NCA works closely with a range of partners – both here in the UK and overseas – to ensure all people who enter or leave the UK do so legally, and are in possession of lawfully obtained identity documents and the correct visa requirements.
“This sentencing sends a clear message to anyone concerned in facilitating illegal migration, to or from the UK, that they will be caught and will receive a custodial sentence.”