National Crime Agency

For over twelve years, one of the National Crime Agency’s (NCA) most wanted men has evaded capture, after his arrest in Lincolnshire over alleged drug trafficking offences.

Mehmet Salih, now 52, was suspected to be a member of an organised crime group involved in the illegal supply and distribution of Class A controlled drugs between December 2010 and September 2011.

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Three men have been jailed over a plot to fly four Albanian illegal immigrants into the UK using a six-seater plane rented from an airfield in Lincolnshire.

As part of a National Crime Agency investigation, Richard Styles, 53, from St Albans in Hertfordshire, was arrested at Deenethorpe Airfield near Corby in Northamptonshire in March 2022.

Styles, who has been jailed for seven years, had just flown his twin-engine plane to the airfield from Belgium, carrying with him three men and a woman who were all attempting to evade immigration checks.

NCA investigators found that Styles had worked with former pilot and fellow aviation enthusiast Silvano Turchet, 68, to rent the six-seater Piper Seneca from a Lincolnshire airfield for £1,500. The NCA investigation was supported by Border Force, Immigration Enforcement and Northamptonshire Police.

Styles flew it down to Deenethorpe, where Turchet had paid for it to be stored in a hangar before flying to Belgium on March 23.

Investigators believe the men were in contact with an Albanian known as ‘Tim K’ who arranged for Style’s illegal passengers to meet him in Belgium. When the plane returned to the UK the next day, an NCA surveillance team was waiting.

As Styles was arrested he joked: “I normally get arrested for drugs, so it’s a bit strange.”

The six-seater Piper Seneca was rented from an airfield in Lincolnshire for £1,500. | Photo: National Crime Agency

Shortly after his arrest, the Albanian group were detained by Northamptonshire Police officers, who were working with the NCA, in a Mercedes taxi driven by Vijayakumar Sivakumar. The migrants were handed to the immigration authorities.

Sivakumar, 43, who was previously convicted for trying to smuggle someone into the UK in the boot of his car, was also arrested. Phone records showed he had been in contact with ‘Tim K’ in the run up to the flight.

Styles had previous convictions for using a plane to smuggle ecstasy tablets out of Belgium in 2003, and drop cannabis into Jersey the same year while he was on the run from the Belgian authorities. He was sentenced to 12 years in prison in 2006, where he is believed to have met Turchet.

The pair were arrested by the Dutch authorities in 2017 in connection with another people smuggling enterprise. Styles would later be convicted in his absence – he was already in custody in the UK by the time the case came to trial.

Turchet was arrested at his home in Nottingham in July 2022 after NCA investigators identified him as the organiser. He initially denied knowledge of the plot, even though phone data put him near Deenethorpe airfield on March 24 and showed he’d called Styles nine times.

All three men were charged with facilitating a breach of immigration law, a charge Styles admitted at a hearing on August 8, 2022.

Turchet pleaded guilty on the first day of his trial. Sivakumar was found guilty by a jury after a five day trial at Leicester Crown Court in February 2023.

On April 28, a judge at the same court sentenced Styles to seven years in prison, Turchet to seven-and-a-half years, and Sivakumar to four-and-a-half years.

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Two men from Grimsby have been arrested in a sweeping international operation against an online marketplace for stolen identities.

The FBI and Dutch National Police led the investigation into Genesis Market, which was taken offline yesterday.

The marketplace was a go-to service for criminals seeking to defraud victims, having hosted approximately 80 million credentials and digital fingerprints stolen from over two million people.

The NCA executed 31 co-ordinated warrants on Tuesday and Wednesday morning.

24 people were arrested around the country, including the two Grimsby men, aged 34 and 36, who were detained on suspicion of Computer Misuse Act and fraud offences.

In total, the international operation resulted in around 120 arrests, over 200 searches, and close to 100 pieces of preventative activity carried out across the globe.

Genesis Market has been taken down by an international operation | Photo: NCA

The NCA’s Director General NECC and Threat Leadership, Rob Jones, said: “Behind every cyber criminal or fraudster is the technical infrastructure that provides them with the tools to execute their attacks and the means to benefit financially from their offending.

“Genesis Market was a prime example of such a service and was one of the most significant platforms on the criminal market. Its removal will be a huge blow to criminals across the globe.

“Targeting this infrastructure is at the core of the NCA’s efforts to disrupt the highest harm offenders and protect the public from those seeking to infiltrate their lives, stealing their identities and their money.

Genesis Market dealt in digital identities, offering “bots” that contained information collected from compromised devices through malicious attacks against both individuals and businesses across various sectors.

These bots provided criminals with access to sensitive data related to an individual’s identity, including cookies, login credentials, and autofill form data, in real-time.

Officers making the arrest of a Grimsby man suspected of being involved with Genesis Market | Photo: NCA

The prices for these bots ranged from $0.70 to several hundred dollars, depending on the amount and type of stolen data, with the most expensive ones containing financial information that allowed access to online banking accounts.

The criminals could use this access to steal from their victims by transferring funds out of the accounts or using their credentials to purchase goods and services for their own benefit. They could also use the victim’s account to launder the profits of other criminal activities, known as money muling.

Members of the public can check whether their data has been compromised and accessed by criminals on Genesis Market by visiting and inputting their email address.

Those who have been affected are encouraged to report this, either to Action Fraud via their online portal, or Police Scotland by calling 101 if you live in Scotland.

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