An Iraqi smuggler was on Friday sentenced to jail in the UK for ten years, after investigators secretly listened to him arguing with other criminals over the disappearance of his dinghy that he planned to fill with migrants to cross the English Channel.
Nzar Jabar Mohamad, 33, tried to charge 21 migrants up to £10,000 for the crossing but demanded his money back from associates in Belgium and France after the £6,500 dinghy and lifeboats went missing.
Investigators, who planted a listening device at his home in Hull, north-east England, arrested him in November 2019 and the crossing never happened, according to the National Crime Agency.
Mohamad was believed to be behind a much larger smuggling network and was heard boasting of bringing more than 100 women to the UK in small boats and hidden inside lorries.
“I brought too many women, I swear to God I can say I brought more than 100 over,” he told associates in Europe in the secretly recorded calls.
Dozens of images on his phone after his arrest showed boat equipment including outboard motors.
Mohamad, who came to Britain hidden in a lorry in 2019 before claiming asylum, started out smuggling people on lorries from Belgium and the Netherlands. He then diversified into small boats after security was improved at key ports in northern Europe.
He worked with two men based in a migrant camp in Dunkirk, northern France, to arrange the crossings.
NCA Branch Commander Martin Clarke said: “Heartless criminals like Mohamad prey on the desperation of migrants seeking to cross the channel.
“The primary motivation of these individuals is financial gain, and they could not care less about the welfare of those on small boats or in the back of lorries.
“Unfortunately for Mohamad, his cover was blown while he was arranging a dangerous small boat crossing.”