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Albanian mobster jailed for smuggling fake asylum seekers into UK via Ireland

Qema specialised in sourcing false documentation and in money laundering, using his extensive contact network in other countries to help him do his bidding.

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Neasa CumiskeySunday World

An Albanian mobster was jailed for five years this week after smuggling people into the UK and charging them €10,000 for entry.

Ndricim Qema, who had been living in Direct Provision before he was sent to prison, arrived in Ireland in 2018 and has been acting as the Albanian gang’s Irish contact ever since.

He had been in the country responding to the orders of his father, who is a senior member of the mob, back in Albania, The Irish Mirror reports.

Qema specialised in sourcing false documentation and in money laundering, using his extensive contact network in other countries to help him do his bidding.

The 27-year-old was put behind bars following a major probe by the Garda National Immigration Bureau (GNIB) and the UK’s Home Office under a joint agency task force, with help from Europol.

It was led by the GNIB’s Superintendent David Kennedy, Detective Garda Mark Henebry, and Helen Conlon of the Garda Analysis Service.

The investigation specifically targeted the gang, which specialises in smuggling people throughout Europe on a large scale.

Those being brought through Ireland and onward to the UK did so willingly, paying the Albanian mobsters between €5,000 to €10,000 before flights were organised and they were handed false documents, mainly forged Italian papers.

Once they arrived in Ireland at Dublin Airport, the people dumped their documents and claimed that they were asylum seekers.

They would then be brought to a hotel and stay overnight before Qema collected them, provided new forged documents, and helped them fly to the UK.

Qema was arrested at a Belfast airport in September 2019 while attempting to travel with another man using false documents. He had already been previously deported from the UK.

His phone was discovered and seized, with police uncovering his people smuggling network. The phone contained photos of false ID papers as well as messages between Qema and his father in Albania.

There was also a string of messages between Qema and people in Albania who were looking to come to Ireland. It was also established he had criminal contacts in Spain and the UK.

The Albanian also laundered a total of €44,000 between 2018 and 2020 using a number of false EU documents.

Qema, with an address at the Esplanade Hotel, Bray, Co Wicklow, was this week jailed for bringing 12 Albanian people into the country illegally. He pleaded guilty to three sample counts of people smuggling at Dublin Airport on various dates in 2019.

He also pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to one count of money laundering, one count of possessing a false instrument and one count of using a false instrument.

Judge Martin Nolan sentenced him to five years behind bars and backdated it back to April last year as Qema has been in custody since then.

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