Search

People smugglers jailed

PUBLISHED: 11:23 20 October 2001 | UPDATED: 10:41 03 March 2010

TWO Lithuanian nationals who masterminded an illegal immigrant smuggling operation have been jailed for a total of five-and-a-half years.

Both men will also be deported from Britain once the sentences have been served.

TWO Lithuanian nationals who masterminded an illegal immigrant smuggling operation have been jailed for a total of five-and-a-half years.

Both men will also be deported from Britain once the sentences have been served.

During sentencing at Bury St Edmunds Crown Court, the court heard how 63-year-old Romauldas Janavicius and his son-in-law Egidijus Rutkauskas, 33, conspired to smuggle eight Lithuanian immigrants into Levington, near Ipswich, on May 6.

Prosecutor Simon Spence said due to information received by police, Janavicius's home made yacht, the Marija, was observed by customs officials sailing into the marina with its navigation lights off.

A short while later four men were seen leaving the vessel and were approached by the police. Two ran off and were never traced, while the others were detained.

On board the yacht, officers found another four immigrants, in addition to both defendants.

Also discovered on the yacht was an address book containing a list of names, which Mr Spence described as a "price list" for the defendant's "commercial smuggling enterprise".

Rutkauskas – who denied conspiring to facilitate the illegal entry of immigrants, but was found guilty during a two-day trial in October – was also found with a substantial amount of cash on the night the Marija arrived in Suffolk.

The long sentence handed out by Judge Nicholas Beddard to Janavicius is the second time he has faced the British legal system for trying to smuggle in illegal immigrants

In 1999 both men were arrested after the Marija was seized at Lowestoft harbour, in near identical circumstances to the recent offences. On that occasion, CCTV footage recorded eight people leaving the vessel and they were never traced.

But Janavicius admitted smuggling offences and was jailed for 21-months at Ipswich Crown Court, in May 2000. He was released after serving just seven months. His sentence was not even technically complete when the latest crime was committed.

Rutkauskas was also held in custody for five months in 1999, but was later released without charge.

Before passing sentence Judge Beddard said: "You are both responsible for bringing in illegal immigrants into this country. I have no doubt this venture was a commercial enterprise and each entrant paid you a fee to bring them here. You were prepared to risk your liberty and the welfare of your families for financial gain."

He sentenced Janavicius to three years in prison and Rutkauskas to two-and-a-half years.

Most Read

Most Read

Latest from the Ipswich Star

Hot Jobs

Show Job Lists