A people smuggler has been jailed for 10 years after being caught boasting about how much money he made by bringing illegal immigrants to Britain in dinghies.
Iraqi-born Nzar Mohamad, 34, from Hull, Yorkshire, was arrested after a listening device in his home picked up several months worth of recordings of him "bragging" about how much money he had made and discussing plans to smuggle illegal immigrants into Britain on dinghies and in HGVs from Calais, France.
Mohamad admitted to conspiracy to help asylum seekers enter the UK from July to November 2019 and was jailed at Hull Crown Court on Monday.
Paul Mitchell QC, prosecuting, told the court Mohamad arrived in the UK in April 2019 after paying a people smuggler £2,000 to arrange his entry.
He had been involved in people smuggling in continental Europe and continued after arriving in the UK.
Mitchell told the court a covert device was installed in Mohamad's home that recorded conversations in which Mohamad discussed his plans and even advised the best time of year for people smuggling.
He was heard speaking to a man named Waqar, demanding money from him and discussing the movement of his sister, who was arriving from Baghdad.
He was heard the next day boasting to Waqar how busy he had been with his operation and how much money he had been making.
Quoting the conversations in court, Mitchell said: "Mohamad said that October, November and December were the best months for people smuggling and that ‘if you just do those three months then you would be loaded'.
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"Mohamad was recorded telling his brother-in-law ‘I was charging 10 or 12 thousand pounds per passenger for their job'.
"Referring to an unsuccessful job, he said: 'They were caught, all of mine were caught, I knew it before they cross'."
The court heard Mohamad again spoke about all of his "passengers" being caught and discussed future methods for illegal immigration, saying "nothing is wrong with the sea. I don’t know why they are afraid of it’."
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In November 2019, Mohamad was heard discussing plans to bring migrants across the channel in a small boat.
He was later heard yelling at a man on the phone because a six-meter boat he had bought for £6,500 from Holland had gone missing.
Mitigating for his client, Shufaq Khan told the court it was likely Mohamad was trying to impress others and that his comments "could have all been boasts".
He said that because Mohamad had experienced migration himself, he understood that "those people were in a difficult plight".
Judge John Thackray told Mohamad: "You were motivated by financial gain and at times playing a leading role and an organiser.
"This is an offence designed to circumvent the immigration laws. It calls for a deterrence sentence since the problem with immigration control is a substantial one causing grave public concern.
"Except in relation to your sister, you were motivated by greed. Central to sentencing is the cynical and callous disregard for immigration law in the UK.
"Add to that the acute human misery visited upon a number of people by illegal immigration that leads to a huge risk of life in attempts to enter the country covertly."
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