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The famous migrant smugller

How we found Europe’s most wanted migrant-smuggler

16 hours ago
Sue Mitchell,BBC News


BBC Scorpion aka Barzan MajeedBBC


I am sitting in a shopping mall in Iraq, face-to-face with one of Europe’s most notorious people-smugglers.

His name is Barzan Majeed, and he is wanted by police forces in several countries, including the UK.

Over the course of our conversation - both here and the next day at his office - he says he does not know how many migrants he has transported across the English Channel.

“Maybe a thousand, maybe 10,000. I don’t know, I didn’t count.”

The meeting is the culmination of what had seemed like an impossible task a few months earlier.

Together with Rob Lawrie, a former soldier who works with refugees, I had set out to find and question the man known as Scorpion.

For several years, he and his gang controlled much of the people-smuggling trade - in boats and lorries - across the English Channel.

More than 70 migrants have died making the crossing by boat since 2018 - last month, five people were killed off the French coast, including a seven-year-old