May 19 2013 Latest news:
by Flora Drury
Monday, August 13, 2012
Members of a Brazilian gang who set up false passport “franchises” have been jailed after police discovered an identity document “factory” in a Tottenham flat.
David Martins Bouchinha, 28, and Jose Carlos Apolinario, 41, were charged with conspiracy to manufacture counterfeit identity documents after officers swooped on the flat on January 31 this year.
Both were sentenced to four-and-a-half years behind bars on Friday after pleading guilty at Croydon Crown Court.
A third man found at the flat, Renato Fernandes-Arruda - a 24-year-old Brazilian national who had overstayed his UK visa - was charged with attempting to possess a false identity document and sentenced to nine months.
The flat was one of five addresses searched in London as part of the Metropolitain Police and UK Border Agency’s Operation Maxim. In total, 49 false identity documents - including Portuguese, Spanish, French and Italian passports - and a computer storing a further 2,500 ID documents were seized.
Two more men were arrested at an address in Mitcham, south London, and sentenced to four-and-a-half years in prison for conspiracy to manufacture counterfeit identity documents.
Det Insp Sarah Davies, of Operation Maxim, said: “The group appeared to have been setting up illegal and fully-functioning passport factories like franchises, providing false identities and even equipment and manufacturing advice to their ‘customers’.
“The group were caught red-handed and it is a credit to the investigating team that the strength of evidence was such that the defendants pleaded guilty at the earliest opportunity.”