Man who smuggled people to Ireland for €10k each unmasked as mobster who used prostitutes but stole groceries
Exclusive: The Irish Mirror today unveils the sophisticated people smuggling scheme run by asylum seeker Ndricim Qema, who was living in Direct Provision before being jailed for five years this week.
This is the Albanian mafioso who headed a gang’s operation to smuggle compatriots to the UK through Ireland while charging them up to €10,000 each.
The Irish Mirror today unveils the sophisticated people smuggling scheme run by asylum seeker Ndricim Qema, who was living in Direct Provision before being jailed for five years this week.
The 27-year-old thug worked as the Albanian organised crime gang’s Irish contact, arriving here in 2018 and answered to the orders of his father, a senior member of the mob in their native country.
Fraudster Qema specialised in sourcing false documentation but also in money laundering, which he did under a number of fake identities as well as having an extensive contact network in other countries.
While running the Irish operation for his Albanian bosses, the shameless gang member used prostitutes and shoplifted trolley loads of booze.
- But he was locked up this week following an extensive investigation by the Garda National Immigration Bureau (GNIB) and the UK’s Home Office under a joint agency task force, with help from Europol. It was led by the GNIB’s Supt David Kennedy, Detective Garda Mark Henebry and Helen Conlon of the Garda Analysis Service.
The major probe targeted the OCG, which specialises in large scale people smuggling throughout Europe. Those being brought through Ireland and onward to the UK did so willingly, with the gang taking advantage of the common travel area.
They paid between €5,000 to €10,000 to mobsters in Albania before flights were organised and they were handed false ID documents.
The gang mostly used Italian documents as its national papers are easier to forge or copy than most other European countries. Once they arrived in Ireland at Dublin Airport, the people dumped their documents and claimed asylum.
From there, they would be brought to a hotel and stay there until the following day. Qema then picked them up, with new false documentation at the ready. He organised their trip to an airport before they flew to the UK.
Qema was arrested at a Belfast airport in September 2019 while attempting to travel under false docs with another Albanian man. Qema had already been previously deported from the UK.
When his phone was found in a car at a Belfast airport car park, it uncovered his people smuggling network. The phone contained 30 photos of false ID papers as well as messages between Qema and his father in Albania.
There was also a host of messages between Qema and people in Albania who were looking to come to Ireland. It was also established he had criminal contacts in Spain and the UK. A source said: “It was a very organised operation which a huge amount of work had to go into to untangle.
- “This individual was the Albanian OCG’s main contact here and he ran everything from the Irish side. He had also had a lot of support from other Albanians here in terms of support in bringing people to the airport up in Belfast or elsewhere.”
Qema laundered a total of €44,000 between 2018 and 2020. Money transfers were largely used but there was evidence of large cash amounts changing hands too. And to launder the money, Qema used a number of dodgy EU ID cards.
The Irish Mirror can also reveal investigators found evidence that he used prostitutes while the gang was also involved in the business. He also went on huge sprees of stealing booze. On some occasions, he had a shopping list on his phone.
Another source said: “Despite quite a lot of money changing hands, being supported by the crime gang at home, he would do things like that. It highlights that he really didn’t give a s***.”
Qema, with an address at the Esplanade Hotel, Bray, Co Wicklow, was this week caged for bringing 12 Albanian people into the country illegally. He pleaded guilty to three sample counts of people smuggling at Dublin airport on various dates in 2019.
He also pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to one count of money launderingHe also pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to one count of money laundering, one count of possessing a false instrument and one count of using a false instrument.
Judge Martin Nolan sentenced him to five years behind bars and backdated it back to April last year as Qema has been in custody since then.