The boss of a Kurdish smuggling ring has been arrested at Manchester Airport after going on the run ahead of his sentencing.
Tarik Namik failed to show up at court back in December and was handed an eight-year prison sentence in his absence, the National Crime Agency (NCA) said.
The court had previously heard how the 45-year-old from Oldham had been found to be the head of an organised crime group involved in transporting migrants from Iraq and Iran to the UK in the back of lorries, the agency added.
Four other members of his gang were sentenced alongside him.
Namik first became a subject of an NCA investigation back in 2017, and a warrant was issued for his arrest after he missed his court date on 9 December.
He was arrested “the moment he set foot back in the UK” after landing in Manchester on a flight travelling from Istanbul, the NCA said.
“Namik was a prolific people smuggler whose crime group put vulnerable migrants at great risk while he reaped the profits,” said NCA branch commander Richard Harrison.
“I’m delighted that he will now face justice for the offences he committed.
“Fugitives never come off our radar, and I’d like to thank our colleagues at Greater Manchester Police for their assistance in ensuring he was detained quickly the moment he set foot back in the UK.”
Namik was due to appear at Manchester Magistrates’ Court on Saturday and is likely to return to the crown court on Monday to be formally sentenced.