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Bedford man among international crime gang caught in human trafficking sting

Bedford man among international crime gang caught in human trafficking sting

Members of a major international organised crime gang – including one Bedford man – have been jailed for laundering more than £4 million cash from human trafficking and cannabis sales.

Part of the criminal operation saw Vietnamese students at a British university receive millions of pounds in cash into their bank accounts.

This money was then transferred to other Vietnamese nationals in the UK who were running businesses exporting clothing to Vietnam. Money was also being laundered through nail bars.

Geraldo Baci

Guilty pleas entered as part of the investigation related to financial offences worth just under £4.2 million.

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The funds came from criminal activity such as Vietnamese nationals in France being charged between £7,000 and £11,500 to be transported illegally into the UK.

Some of these were then offered as ‘workers’ to support cannabis production operations.

Eastern Region Special Operations Unit (ERSOU) carried out raids in Birmingham, Cambridgeshire, Essex, Leicester, London and Wales.

And one of those arrested as part of the investigation was Geraldo Baci – from Bedford – who was identified as having been supplied with ‘workers’ for his cannabis operation.

When ERSOU raided his home address, officers seized cannabis with a wholesale value of around £25,000, as well as £5,000 in cash.

Baci, 30 – of St Michael’s Road – was found guilty of possession with intent supply cannabis, possession of criminal property and possession of a controlled article for use in fraud, and given a 16 month prison sentence.

In November, My Ha Do, 31, of London, was found guilty of conspiracy to supply cannabis, two counts of converting criminal property and two counts of transferring criminal property, in connection to money laundering offences worth almost £2 million.

Today (Monday) at Southwark Crown Court she was given a three-year jail term.

After a separate trial, in March three other women were also found guilty of significant money laundering offences.

Hanh Tuyet Nguyen, 43, of Shropshire, was found guilty of two counts of concealing criminal property and a further count of converting criminal property.

Thi Ngoc Nguyen, 31, of Bristol, was found guilty of transferring criminal property and possession of criminal property.

Thi Phuong Huyen Phan, 35, of London, was found guilty of concealing criminal property.

Today, they were given sentences of two years, 18 months and 10 months suspended for 18 months respectively.

Ly Thi Hoai Pham, 53, of no fixed address, previously pleaded guilty to converting criminal property and conspiring to supply cannabis. She was jailed for six-and-a-half years.

DC Paul Gillick, from ERSOU’s criminal finance team, said: “This was a major, highly sophisticated operation which attempted to conceal large sums of criminal cash across international borders.

“Organised crime destroys lives. Anyone helping to facilitate it will face the full force of the law.

“These gangs are desperate for people to help them avoid detection and move their money. People need to be wise to this and know that ignorance is no excuse: if you are caught doing this, there is a very strong chance you will go to prison.”

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