Final Defendants In Counterfeit Passport Factory Operation Sentenced, Metropolitan Police Report

LAWFUEL – UK Legal News – Two men have been sentenced today (22/11/07) at Wood Green Crown Court, who are the final defendants involved in the Metropolitan Police’s largest crackdown on counterfeit passport factories to date.

Rodrigo Goncalves [10/07/77 – 30 ys] pleaded guilty to three counts of possession of apparatus used to manufacture false identity documents (ID Cards Act), possession of false identity documents with intent for another to use them to establish registrable facts (ID Cards Act) and acquisition or retention of criminal property (POCA Section 328). He was sentenced to 3 and a half years imprisonment.

Vitor Bruno Goncalves [04/10/81 – 26 ys] pleaded guilty to two counts of possession of false identity documents with intent (being all the false documents at the flat) and possession of false identity documents with intent (being false documents in his own name found on his person and at his home address). He was sentenced to two years imprisonment.

The two brothers, both Brazilian nationals of East Bank, Stoke Newington pleaded guilty at Wood Green Crown Court. At the property in East London up to a hundred passports in various states of manufacture were found in cupboards and all the equipment and regalia connected with producing illegal counterfeit documents.

The Met’s Maxim team led the investigation into this address and fourteen other addresses across London on Wednesday 21 March 2007. The co-ordinated activity was codenamed Operation Greenhill, and became the UK’s largest ever operation targeting the illegal manufacturing of passports and associated identity documents.
As well as Vitor Goncalves and Rodrigo Goncalves, two other people from the same address in Stoke Newington also pleaded guilty to possession of false identity document (ID Cards Act).
Jose Luis Canesin [22.10.47 – 60ys] was sentenced to 12 months and Antonio De Sequira [19.08.78 – 29 ys] received 8 months imprisonment. From a separate address but under the same operation, Bilal Hamdouch [28.09.84 – 23ys] an Algerian from South London received 9 months imprisonment.

In total from the 15 addresses raided across London in Operation Greenhill, £40,000 cash was seized as well as a variety of false passports, driving licenses and foreign identity documents.
In total four organised criminal networks were dismantled or disrupted, 29 people were arrested of which 23 of them were charged, two were deported, one remains on bail and three subjects were discharged with no further action. All those charged pleaded guilty, and the sentences of all the defendants totaled 23 and a half years.
In the document factory run by Vitor Goncalves and Rodrigo Goncalves, 50 counterfeit passports were found in the flat, dozens more were believed to have been made there and evidence of 1000 counterfeit driving licences, 1300 National Insurance cards were found on equipment within the flat.

The series of raids across London involved over 100 police officers searching 13 addresses and arresting 22 people. Further raids took place in the following weeks leading to seven additional arrests. These took place across London in Walthamstow, Rotherhithe, Ilford, Upper Holloway, South Lambeth, Hackney, Brixton, Kilburn, Stoke Newington, Tottenham, Bermondsey and Greenford.

The investigation was led by the Met’s Maxim team who tackle organised immigration crime targeting criminal networks involved in counterfeit document factories, human smuggling and human trafficking. The activity also involved close working with officers from the UK Immigration Service (Border and Immigration Agency), the Identity and Passport Service, South Yorkshire Police and the Department of Work and Pensions.

Acting Detective Superintendent John Kielty, head of the Met’s Operation Maxim, said: ” Today’s sentence draws to a close the largest MPS led operation against the criminal networks that produce and distribute fake passports and identity documents. These documents are often used to enable others to commit a wide range of serious offences. I am pleased to see that all 23 people charged as a result of operation Greenhill have now been convicted; this is a testament to the professionalism of Maxim staff and the partners who assisted our operation”.

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