Four arrested in cash smuggling raids in Tottenham and Dover

Some of the seized cash (NCA)
Some of the seized cash (NCA)

Three men and a teenager have been arrested after a cash smuggling raid in Tottenham.

Detectives with the National Crime Agency investigating an alleged crime group smuggling crash out of the UK into Albania made the arrests in co-ordinated raids on Saturday.

A 48-year-old Albanian man from Haringey was arrested at Dover, and around £200,000 was seized from his vehicle, which was said to be en-route to Albania.

Two other men, aged 34 and 22, and a 17-year-old boy were arrested at addresses in Tottenham Hale and around £150,000 in cash was seized from a second vehicle.

The NCA said it had been investigating the alleged gang for two years, saying they believed it operated under the guise of a legitimate courier company.

However, instead it is said to specialise in transferring other Albanian-run OCGs’ illicit cash out of the country back to Albania.

The investigation began in February 2022 after Border Force stopped the 48-year-old suspect at the outbound Channel Tunnel controls at Folkestone, Kent.

On that occasion, inside his Mercedes Sprinter van, which was bound for Tirana, officers found a total of £390,000 wrapped in various tin foil packages.

The suspect’s home in Haringey was searched and officers discovered a further £150,000 in cash.

The 34-year-old was also previously arrested in September 2022 when officers discovered in excess of £20,000 in his car.

In August 2023, a further £43,980 was seized which was believed to be destined to be transported by the group, the NCA said.

Both men remained under investigation until they were arrested again on Saturday. They have since been released on conditional bail.

The 22-year-old man and 17-year-old boy were released under investigation pending further enquiries.

NCA operations manager Paul Orchard said: “Money launderers enable other serious and organised criminals – such as drugs and firearms dealers - to commit their horrendous offences which so badly damage our society.

“Degrading organised crime groups’ ability to wash their money is a priority for the NCA in its mission to protect the public.

“The purpose of organised crime is to make money, so by going after it and those who launder it, we are targeting the heart of the criminal business model.”