A driver who was caught trying to take nearly £300,000 criminal cash out of the UK just four hours after arriving into the country has been jailed.
Mariusz Dorozynski, 33, from Zlotoryja in Poland, was initially bailed following his arrest for money laundering in June 2016, but he failed to return to be charged after being summonsed by post in November 2018.
This led to National Crime Agency investigators applying for a European Arrest Warrant, and Dorozynski was apprehended in Poland and extradited back to the UK in October 2019.
On Friday 1 May he was sentenced to two years at in a video-link hearing done via Maidstone Crown Court after admitting money laundering charges, with the judge confirming he believed the money to be the proceeds of organised crime.
The judge also indicated that an EAW would be supported for a second man wanted by the NCA in connection with the smuggling attempt, 45-year-old Mariusz Kolodziej, from Boleslawiec in Poland. He had called the NCA claiming the cash was his after the seizure and was also charged and summonsed to appear, but failed to attend court.
NCA Dover branch commander Martin Grace said: “Dorozynski thought that by fleeing the UK he would get away with it, but through the determination of our officers working with our partners overseas we ensured he was made to come back to face justice.
“Cash is the lifeblood of organised crime, seizing this money will have dealt a significant blow to the criminal networks involved.”
The NCA investigation was launched after the van Dorozynski was driving was stopped and searched by Border Force officers at Dover on 3 June 2016. A scan showed the presence of bundles of cash concealed among boxes of car parts.
He initially told NCA officers he had attempted to deliver the car parts to a company in Banbury, nearly three hours’ drive away, who had turned them away. He denied knowing anything about the cash.
In fact, he had entered the UK just four hours beforehand, and investigators were able to use phone analysis to show that he had only got as far as east London. Additionally, the van had been scanned by Border Force on the way in, and there was no sign of the cash then.
Dave Smith, Border Force regional director, said: “Border Force used expertise and technology to bring an offender to justice and prevent a substantial amount of criminal cash leaving the UK.
“Scanning the vehicle on its way into the UK – when the cash was not present – meant officers could quickly discredit Dorozynski’s initial explanations. We will continue to do all we can to end this illegal activity.”