Monthly Archive: February 2017

Illegal immigrants found in lorry at North Shields part of alleged people smuggling plot

An alleged people smuggling plot was smashed when a lorry at a Tyneside ferry terminal was found with 20 illegal immigrants hidden among its cargo, a court heard.

Newcastle Crown Court was[1] told a search of a truck which came into the UK on a ferry at North Shields[2] uncovered 19 Albanians and a Syrian man on September 1 2015.

Prosecutors told the court customs officers opened the back of the HGV they noticed a foisty smell and “saw feet within the lorry”.

It is alleged Ferdinand Gjolla organised a conspiracy to smuggle people with the help of others, including brother-in-law Armand Mekolli and truck driver Marek Niedziechi, which all three deny.

Paul Abrahams, prosecuting, told jurors: “They conspired with each other, and others unknown, it was not a closed agreement, to facilitate unlawful entry to a member state of the European Union.

“We say these three men, with others that we cannot identify, agreed to smuggle people into the UK who had no right to remain, they were not from the UK or EU citizens.[3]

“It is the Crown’s case Gjolla is the organiser, he facilitated it, set it up, did the running around, organising.

“Niedziechi is the transporter. Mekolli is there to assist Gjolla move the people once they are in the UK.”

The court heard a sealed HGV driven by Niedziechi, who worked for a firm based in Warsaw, Poland, was stopped at North Shields Ferry Terminal on September 1 2015, having arrived from Holland.

It was carrying electrical equipment to be delivered to a firm in Cramlington[4] and Niedziechi denies he knew about the extra, illegal cargo of people.

Prosecutor Paul Abrahams told the court: “An officer asked him to open the door fully and after the door was fully opened the officer noticed a foisty smell.

“On further investigation she saw feet within the lorry.

“On inspection, a number of people were found within the lorry.

“In total, 20 people were taken out of the lorry and detained. They consisted of 19 Albanians and one Syrian, none of whom had permission to enter the UK.”

Niedziechi, 33, told investigators he had travelled from Rimini in Italy, through Luxembourg, Belgium and Rotterdam to the Netherlands, then on to the UK.

He denied knowing there were people being smuggled in the back of his lorry and told detectives “It was not on purpose”.

Prosecutors claim Niedziechi conspired with Albanian nationals Gjolla, 41, who is now a British citizen, and Mekolli, 30, to facilitate unlawful entry into the UK, which they all deny. All three men have pleaded not guilty to a charge of conspiracy to facilitate unlawful entry to a member state of the European Union between June 2013 and October 2015.

The court heard the Albanian nationals found in the lorry were deported almost immediately but the Syrian man claimed asylum in the UK due to the troubles in his homeland.

The man told investigators he had travelled from Syria through Europe to try to reach his wife in Britain. He said he initially stayed around Calais in France but then a friend advised him to travel to Belgium, where he met some Albanians and was taken to the Netherlands, where he and the others were put in the lorry in a “quiet area”.

The court heard lorry driver Niedziechi was carrying seven mobile phone sim cards when he was arrested at the North Shields port.

Mr Abrahams told jurors telephone records, cell site analysis and number plate recognition cameras prove a link between the three accused men.

He told the court there was a meeting in Bracknell, Essex, where arrangements were made between Niedziechi and Gjolla just over a week before illegal cargo of people was brought into the UK.

Mr Abrahams said Gjolla travelled to the Netherlands from his home in Yorkshire two days before the ferry set sail, to “set up” the smuggling.

Records show one of the Albanian immigrants, who was carrying a mobile phone when he was caught, had been in contact with a phone linked to Gjolla.

Mr Abrahams said: “Nineteen Albanians and one Syrian end up on a lorry, one of whom has sent a message to Gjolla, who happens to know the lorry driver.”

Prosecutors claim Gjolla and Mekolli, both of Redhill Avenue, Barnsley, South Yorkshire, travelled to Cramlington on the morning the ferry arrived at North Shields and that the mobile phone of Mekolli, of no fixed address, contacted Niedziechi’s phone at around the time the vessel was due in the UK.

All three men deny involvement in the conspiracy.

The trial continues.

References

  1. ^ Newcastle Crown Court was (www.chroniclelive.co.uk)
  2. ^ at North Shields (www.chroniclelive.co.uk)
  3. ^ EU citizens. (www.chroniclelive.co.uk)
  4. ^ firm in Cramlington (www.chroniclelive.co.uk)

Driver Cited In US 19 Dump Truck Crash

PASCO COUNTY, FL — The Florida Highway Patrol says a 26-year-old dump truck driver from Clermont whose vehicle spilled its load onto U.S. 19 Monday morning near County Line Road was cited with careless driving.

According to the agency, Jonathan Matos-Bernard was heading westbound on County Line Road just before 6 a.m. Feb. 27. As Mathos-Bernard attempted to turn onto U.S. 19 southbound, troopers say he was going too fast for conditions. The dump truck overturned onto its side, scattering sand across the roadway.

The crash forced a closing of the outside lanes of U.S. 19 for several hours Monday morning.

Matos-Bernard was not injured. No other vehicles were involved in the crash.

Photo courtesy of the Florida Highway Patrol

Heart of gold! Trucker uses his hydraulic lift to reach a terrified kitten stranded 30ft above a motorway

  • The unnamed truck driver spotted the kitten stuck on a 30ft flyover in Bangkok
  • He pulled over and used the hydraulic lift to grab the cat from the ledge
  • Footage of the rescue was viewed more than one million times and gone viral

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This is the heartwarming moment a driver climbs onto his truck’s raised trailer to rescue a kitten stranded on a 30ft-high motorway flyover.

The eagle-eyed trucker, whose name is not known, spotted the terrified moggy on the narrow ledge above a busy dual carriageway on Saturday, February 25, in Bangkok, Thailand.

He stood on the back of the lorry and activated the hydraulic lift to soar up to the kitten, while tip-toeing on the tiny strip of metal.

The brave man stood on the back of the lorry and activated the hydraulic lift to soar up to the kitten, while tip-toeing on the tiny strip of metal

The brave man stood on the back of the lorry and activated the hydraulic lift to soar up to the kitten, while tip-toeing on the tiny strip of metal

The driver then managed to coax the cat away from danger and descended back down on to the truck

The driver then managed to coax the cat away from danger and descended back down on to the truck

The brave man stood on the back of the lorry and activated the hydraulic lift to soar up to the kitten, while tip-toeing on the tiny strip of metal

The driver then managed to coax the cat away from danger and descended back down on to the truck.

The incredible footage of the daring rescue, captured by onlooker Nieb Nuttigon, went viral after being viewed more than one million times.

Nieb, who runs a street food stall opposite the place where the rescue happened, said: ‘This happened in front of my restaurant on the Rama 3 road. The man was brave to climb up so high like that.

‘The kitten had been crying for help since the night before but nobody could reach him until the driver came along. 

The trucker is seen petting the kitten after the successful rescue from the underpass

The trucker is seen petting the kitten after the successful rescue from the underpass

The kitten has now been taken in by a nearby shopkeeper

The kitten has now been taken in by a nearby shopkeeper

 The trucker is seen petting the kitten after the successful rescue from the underpass

‘He came down after with the kitten and he saved it. But he didn’t want to adopt the cat as he drives a lot.’

The kitten has now been taken in by a nearby shopkeeper.

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References

  1. ^ e-mail (www.dailymail.co.uk)

Truck driver busted with 200 pounds of cocaine headed to prison

A truck driver busted hauling 90.9 kilos of cocaine via Interstate 10 in Harrison County is headed to prison for 14 years for his crime.

Jose Gilberto Granados, 44, pleaded guilty in October in U.S. District Court to conspiracy to distribute cocaine. He was facing a prison sentence of anywhere from 10 years to life.

U.S. District Judge Sul Ozerden sentenced Granados on Friday, also ordering him to serve five additional years under post-release supervision and fining him $10,000.

Granados was in a tractor trailer with a Texas license plate when a Harrison County deputy stopped him [1]on June 29. At the time, Granados was on probation for a drug conviction. In addition, an officer with the Mississippi Department of Transportation noticed inconsistencies in the driver’s log book and an altered legal document used to ship items.

After the stop, Granados said he was expecting a $64,000 payout once he delivered the cocaine.

The cocaine was hidden inside a modified fuel tank on the passenger side of his vehicle. The 90.9 kilos of cocaine is equal to 200.4 pounds.

Granados’ passenger in his truck, Maria Betancourt Castillo, pleaded guilty earlier to a lesser charge of knowing a crime was being committed but failing to report it. She was sentenced in January to 18 months in prison followed by one year of post-release supervision. She was also fined $5,000.

In exchange for their pleas, the government dismissed all remaining charges.

References

  1. ^ Harrison County deputy stopped him (www.sunherald.com)

TMW targets small fleets with new maintenance management platform

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – TMW Systems has launched a new, cost-effective maintenance management system that it says will allow the company to break into the small fleet market.

Designed for fleets with 150 or fewer assets, FleetCheck is designed to provide smaller fleets with the ability to increase efficiency, improve cost control and maintain DoT compliance at a price point that’s more palatable for smaller operations. The new offering, announced at the spring meeting of the Technology & Maintenance Council, complements TMW’s existing TMT Fleet Maintenance offering that is marketed towards larger fleets.

“We’ve always had small fleets interested in our products, but because of our cost structuers and the complexity of the full-scale system, we weren’t (cost) competitive,” said Scott Vanselous, executive vice-president, marketing and strategy. “Small fleets always had an interest in the record-keeping of repairs and maintenance history.”

FleetCheck allows fleets to move away from spreadsheets into a user-friendly web browser-based platform.

“The smaller fleets are clamoring for this type of technology – we just haven’t been able to deliver it cost-effectively to them,” said Vanselous.

Two versions of FleetCheck will be offered, one for fleets that conduct their own maintenance and repairs in-house and another for those who outsource all such work. Fleets will benefit from having easy access to their complete repair histories. FleetCheck will be pre-configured for easy deployment, Vanselous explained.

TMW also announced a new Parts Room app that allows fleets to manage their parts inventory through Android and iOS devices. It’s available to users fo the company’s TMT Fleet Maintenance and TMT Service Center products.

The app allows users to use their device to perform a complete physical inventory for the parts room, or narrow the list by bin, part number range or part type.