British court jails gang for trafficking vulnerable people from Latvia

  • 2018-11-09
  • LETA/TBT Staff

NOTTINGHAM - Members of a gang in the United Kingdom that trafficked vulnerable people from Latvia have been handed sentences ranging from six years to one, BBC reported on Wednesday.

Over five years, 28 victims were trafficked by the group from Latvia.

Nottingham Crown Court heard the gang was headed by Ainars Pelcis, 54, described as the "gypsy baron" because of his power and wealth.

Judge James Sampson said the gang had controlled their victims with "surprising and remarkable" success. He also described them as "thoroughly greedy and dishonest", but "very clever".

The court heard vulnerable men were recruited on the promise of work in the United Kingdom. When they arrived, they worked in food factories in Derbyshire and were housed in sub-standard accommodation while the gang spent most of their wages on luxury cars and property.

The gang was arrested after police raided homes in Derby and Latvia in September 2017 and February 2018.

The gang - comprising five men and four women - originally denied the offences, but changed their pleas seven weeks into a three-month trial. All nine gang members admitted conspiracy to arrange or facilitate entry into the UK for exploitation.

Ainars Pelcis was sentenced to five-and-a-half years, Ilgvars Pelcis (33) to three years and eight months, Karlis Aleksandrovs (42) to two years, Magdalena Kleina (55) to five-and-a-half years, Jolanta Pelce (37) to two years, Karens Pelcis (25) to six years, Madara Stromane (24) to six years, Andris Krauklis (39) to one year and three months, Imitra Didzis (33) to one year and two months.

Eight gang members lived in Derby, while Imitra Didzis lived in Latvia.