SIXTEEN people, including from Hayes, Southall, Hanwell and Hounslow, were convicted following a major National Crime Agency investigation into people smuggling and money laundering.

Members of the network smuggled more than £42m in cash out of the UK, making hundreds of trips to Dubai between 2017 and 2019.

Investigators believe the money was profit from the sale of class A drugs and organised immigration crime.

As part of the investigation, they uncovered a plot to smuggle 17 migrants, including five children and a pregnant woman, into the UK in the back of a van carrying tyres.

The van was intercepted by Dutch police before it could reach a ferry.

In November 2019, following weeks of surveillance, communications and flight data analysis, officers moved in to make arrests.

Ringleader Charan Singh, 44, from Hounslow, was among those detained in a series of early-morning raids.

Further arrests followed and those charged were prosecuted in two trials at Croydon Crown Court, starting in January.

At the first trial, six people, including Singh, were found guilty of money laundering. Two defendants were additionally convicted of arranging illegal immigration.

Midway through the second trial, six defendants changed their plea to guilty in relation to money laundering. 

As a result, reporting restrictions were lifted on Friday, May 5.

All 16 are due to be sentenced at a hearing in September.