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A gang of human traffickers have been jailed for smuggling four Vietnamese men into the United Kingdom.

Thomas Mason, 36, Hoa Thi Nguyen, 49, and four accomplices were sentenced to jail at the St Albans Crown Court after being convicted of conspiracy to facilitate the illegal entry of foreign nationals into the United Kingdom, the BBC reported.

The gang of smugglers reportedly used a dinghy bought by Mason and accomplice Nazmi Velia, 32, to carry the illegal immigrants across the English Channel off the coast of Kent. On August 3, 2018, the two were seen launching the boat by the Eastern Region Special Operations Unit and Border Force. 

Mason, who steered the boat, was found wearing a life jacket while his passengers were not. Nguyen was found to have coordinated the trips including several failed attempts prior to the latest one.

Judge Robert Winstanley said the group showed no regard for the safety of the people they smuggled and that the plot was a well-organized plan driven solely by monetary gain.

Mason and Nguyen were both jailed for eight years. Velia was given a five-year sentence, Erald Gapi, 27, was jailed for 21 months and Wayne Lee, 46, was given two years. Egert Kajaci, 35, who was the designated driver, is set to be sentenced on 18 March.

Nguyen’s partner Chi Tan Huynh, 41, was also given a sentence of 30 months.

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