The owner of the car wash led a gang of “large-scale” human trafficking.

(Left to right clockwise) Tarik Namik, Soran Saliy, Hajar Ahmed, Habil Gider and Hardi Alizada. (ANC)

A car wash owner was revealed to be the leader of a “large scale” gang of smugglers.

Tarik Namik, who ran a car wash in Stockport, headed the organized crime group that became the subject of a National Crime Agency (NCA) investigation in 2017.

The 45-year-old ran a sophisticated and profitable criminal enterprise that transported Kurdish migrants from Iraq and Iran to the UK hidden in the back of trucks, Manchester Crown Court has heard.

On Friday, Namik, from Oldham, was jailed alongside four other men for a total of nearly 24 years after pleading guilty to misdemeanors.

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Tarik Namik (R) and Habil Gider.  (Photo: NCA)

Tarik Namik (R) and Habil Gider. (ANC)

Working for Namik were Hajar Ahmed, 39, of Manchester, and Soran Saliy, 32, of Stoke, who would help coordinate the British side of the operation.

Habil Gider, 54, from Stoke, would act as an escort for some of the migrants once they arrived in the UK, while Hardi Alizada, 32, from Nottingham, would travel to Europe to coordinate from there.

The gang made use of accomplices in truck drivers, usually from Turkey, the court said.

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Recordings found on Namik’s phone suggest he may have been involved in smuggling at least 1,900 migrants from the Balkans to France or Germany over a 50-day period, charging around 1,800 euros (£1,548) per migrant.

The group would then offer two separate means of reaching the UK, which would incur additional costs.

The first facility, ‘escort’, involved individual migrants being picked up by accomplice lorry drivers in France or Belgium and hidden inside their lorry, sometimes inside the wind deflector above the cab, then met by an escort – usually taxi driver Gider – he had once arrived in Dover.

Gider would then take them to their final destination.

Hajar Ahmed is seen at the car wash.  (ANC)

Hajar Ahmed is seen at the car wash. (ANC)

The other method would be to hide larger groups of migrants in the back of a truck, also driven by an accomplice transporter, to be released once the driver clears border controls.

Once here, the migrants would have asked for asylum.

Gider was caught red-handed while traveling in November 2017, after his car was stopped by the NCA as he drove north on the M26 in Kent.

An Iraqi-Kurdish woman was seated in the back: she had just arrived in Dover in a lorry.

Namik’s operation was finally dismantled in April 2018, when he, Ahmed and Saliy were arrested by NCA agents.

Alizada was arrested in Nottingham in February 2019 and charged in connection with his role.

All five admitted to the charges against them during a series of previous hearings.

Namik did not appear in court for his sentencing hearing.

He was convicted in absentia and an arrest warrant has now been issued.

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