Neasden man jailed after joining forces with cigarette smuggling gang
- Credit: Archant
A Neasden man who joined forces with the ringleader of a smuggling gang caught with more than nine million illegal cigarettes and £356,185 in cash has been jailed.
Daniel Pascaru, 37, of Tanfield Avenue, was sentenced to 32 months for acting as a link between buyers and suppliers of dodgy goods on June 26.
Northampton Crown Court heard that ringleader Oleg Cretu, 37, of Northampton, was investigated by HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) after the cigarettes and used bank notes were discovered during a search of an industrial unit he rented in Wellingborough in September 2018.
HMRC officers seized cash and 9,510,360 mixed branded cigarettes worth £3.4 million in unpaid duty from the unit. Cretu, Pascaru and two other smugglers, Sebastian Hanczur of Dorset and Alan Ali of Derby, used a nearby car park as a base to meet customers and take payment, and then leave them there as they collected illicit cigarettes from the unit.
Their scam came undone after they were caught acting suspiciously in the car park. The gang led officers to the unit full of cigarettes and cash, hidden in cupboards and carrier bags.
You may also want to watch:
Pascaru pleaded guilty to acquiring possession of dutiable goods with fraudulent intent and possessing criminal property.
Cretu was jailed for 38 months, Ali was sentenced to 16 months and
- 1 Mass vaccination centre opens in Wembley Park
- 2 Wembley drug dealer jailed for biting, scratching and pushing police
- 3 Man arrested in connection with Neasden murder and two stabbings
- 4 Third stabbing in Neasden as murder investigation under way
- 5 Fundraiser launched after beloved mum found collapsed in Barham Park dies
- 6 Wembley grandmother who survived Covid thanks live-in carer
- 7 Disabled Wembley cyclist calls for more inclusivity on Brent's roads
- 8 Tributes paid to Queen's Park charity worker who died after contracting Covid
- 9 Wembley tutor takes to Instagram to help with homeschooling
- 10 Pensioner dies after crashing into a wall in Kenton
Hanczur was sentenced to a 15-month community order, 200 hours unpaid work and ordered to pay costs of £1,200.
Simon Kiefer, assistant director of HMRC's fraud investigation service, said: "Disrupting criminal trade is at the heart of our strategy to clampdown on the illicit tobacco market. This is theft from the taxpayer, denying public services much needed money.
"We urge anyone with information about this, or any other tax fraud, to contact HMRC online or call our Fraud Hotline on 0800 788 887."