British police detected network, which smuggled 200,000 people into country

The British police smashed in a series of raids early Tuesday morning a network thought to have smuggled 200,000 people into the country.

Ten people, all Turkish Kurds, have been arrested after dawn raids in London and Lincolnshire, central England, allegedly for trafficking thousands of Turkish Kurds into Britain, media reportssaid.

Senior officers regard the network as one of the largest human-trafficking gang they have encountered.

The group is thought to have smuggled mainly Turkish Kurds intoBritain illegally, in groups of up to 20 a time, concealed in cars,vans, lorries and aircraft, for the last few years.

The illegal immigrants smuggled in from the Kurdish areas of Turkey, pay between 3,000 and 5,000 pounds (about 5,400 and 9,000 US dollars) for journeys which often take months, said the police.

The journeys involve being passed on to gang members in severalEuropean countries and staying at safe houses before being smuggled into Britain in cramped conditions.

Many of the immigrants find low-paid, black market menial jobs in north London's Turkish community.

The alleged racket is thought to have made millions of pounds for its ringleaders with some of that money being invested in businesses like cafes and snooker halls, Xinhua reports.

Detective Chief Bill Skelly said the investigation was part of a wider international operation.

"This is the biggest operation of its kind that the Metropolitan Police has been involved in so far," he told BBC News,adding the operation is "the culmination of 20 other arrests and operations which have taken place throughout Europe over the last two years."

Scotland Yard Assistant Commissioner Tarique Ghaffur said the raids had been aimed at those "right at the top of this network."

The raids were the culmination of a two-year police investigation code-named Bluesky which involved 200 officers and cooperation from law enforcement agencies in France, Italy, Holland, Belgium and Denmark as well as Europol.


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